#YouthDay – A recent survey by global market research company Ipsos shows that 71% of South Africa's youth intend to vote in the upcoming elections.
With just seven weeks before the local government elections, Ipsos on Wednesday revealed it conducted 3 786 face-to-face interviews with randomly chosen respondents, representative of South Africans 15 years and older, between March 29 and May 11. Of these, 912 were in the 15 to 24 age group.
Interviews were conducted throughout the country, ranging from metropolitan areas to deep rural areas.
When asked about their intention to vote, almost a quarter (24%) of participants said they did not want to vote or definitely do not vote. However, the majority, 71%, said that they definitely wanted to vote, while 5% indicated that they did not know.
According to Ipsos, people in the 18-24 age category share similar levels of interest as the older age groups.
However, more than six out of ten younger people between the ages of 15 and 17 said they are not interested in politics and elections.
Optimism of youth
According to the survey, only 15% of adults said they are interested in politics and the elections.
The survey also revealed that less than three in ten (28%) of South African adults believe that the country is going in the right direction.
Young South Africans share this opinion with only 26% of 15-17 year olds and 30% of 18-24 year olds believing the country is going in the right direction.
Looking to the future however, the optimism of youth shines through, the survey said.
Almost two thirds (65%) of 15 to 17 year olds and 61% of 18-24 year olds say that they are very or fairly confident of a happy future for all races in the country. The corresponding figure for all South African adults is 58%.
What do the youth want?
According to Ipsos, respondents were asked which issues were most important for the government to address – firstly as a list of all the issues that are important, and then to name the most important issue for them.
Unemployment and job creation was listed as the most important issue by 37% of 15-17 year olds and 49% of 18 – 24 year olds.
While education is mentioned by almost half (47%) of 15–17 year olds, it becomes slightly less of an issue (40%) for 18–24 year olds, with whom corruption and development are considered to be more important issues.
Politics a major player
Almost four in every ten (37%) of 18-24 year olds said that there was no political party that represented their views.
However, when asked who they would vote for if elections were held the next day, almost half (47%) chose the ANC as their party of choice – but 8% of young adults indicated they would not vote, whilst a further 6% are not registered.
The age group who most want to vote in the upcoming local government elections are those older than 50; 78% of them indicated they want to vote on August 3.
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