23% of youth don't plan to vote - survey

Johannesburg - Almost one in four young South Africans do not plan to vote in the 2014 general elections, a survey by Pondering Panda has found.

"It is concerning that almost one in four young people might stay home and not cast their vote in 2014, but what is of even greater concern are their reasons for doing so," said Pondering Panda spokesperson Shirley Wakefield.

"The vast majority of respondents with no plans to vote feel nothing will change no matter who wins, or that there is no one worth voting for."

Disillusionment

She said this indicated a strong sense of disillusionment with both politicians and the political process.

"If competing parties want to tap into these disaffected voters, they need to field candidates who are better able to connect with young people, and demonstrate a commitment to meaningful change in South Africa, if elected."

The survey found that 23% of young people did not intend voting, compared to 74% who planned to vote.

Wakefield said 3 725 people between the ages of 18 and 34 were interviewed across the country.

Young people in the Northern Cape and Gauteng were found to be "least likely to vote".

Young people most likely to vote were in the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

About 19% of people in each of these provinces said they did not plan to vote.

"There were no significant differences according to age, gender, or race," the survey found.

The survey found that young black and coloured South Africans were most likely to think nothing would change regardless of the result of the elections.

New political parties

People were also asked whether the new political parties, Agang SA and Julius Malema’s proposed Economic Freedom Fighters, changed the way they felt about voting in 2014.

"Reaction to this question was almost evenly split, with 39% of respondents saying these new parties made it more important to go out and vote, and 40% saying that having Agang SA and the EFF on the ballot did not change the way they felt about voting," it said.

All interviews were carried out on cellphones between 26 June and 1 July.

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