Parties to target youth

2015-06-17 06:00
Johannes Ngozo, Social commentator

Johannes Ngozo, Social commentator Foto:

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LOCAL ELECTIONS are on the horizon for South Africa in 2016.

This is likely to put the focus on the role of the so-called born-frees, since they form a large proportion of the voting population.

It is well documented that South Africa is a young country, because a huge percentage of the population is the youth.

The born-frees are the young people who were born shortly before South Africa became a democratic country.

A large percentage of the voting population is between the ages of 18 and 35.

This goes to show that the born-frees are likely to determine who will win the elections at a local level.

There are a myriad of factors that are likely to influence the voting patterns of the born-frees. One of these is the fact that the born-frees are largely apathetic when it comes to taking part in voting. It will take a great deal of effort from political parties to convince the born-frees to leave their gadgets behind long enough to go to voting stations.

A party that can manage this will have its work cut out X because the likelihood is that they will vote for that particular party.

So far, on the micro-level of municipalities, it does not look like any of the political parties are doing anything to entice the youth to leave their gadgets behind and garner enough knowledge to equip themselves to go to polling stations.

Since it is not a homogeneous group when it comes to who they are likely to vote for, and why, it will be wise for any political party to avoid adopting a one-size-fits-all approach when dealing with the born-frees.

It is not like the born-frees are apolitical or are insensitive towards the struggles faced by the generation that came before them.

They are also facing struggles that are unique to them, struggles such as a high unemployment rate, globalisation and neo-liberalism.

It will be a step in the right direction for any political party to factor in ways to counter the struggles of the born-frees into their manifestos come local election time.

One of the struggles facing this group is unemployment. Official figures show unemployment to be at 52% among the youth. This is high by any standard.

That means many people are roaming the streets. Parties taking part in elections must show the born-frees how they aim to tackle this X especially at local level.

The ruling ANC is not inspiring hope to get this group to take part in political processes, because most of the municipalities it runs are characterised by elements of mediocrity, cronyism, corruption and maladministration.

All these factors have the potential to make the born-frees stay away from the polls.

As we all know, elections are a contested terrain in their own nature.

A party that will encapsulate the interests of the born-frees will stand a better chance at winning the polls.

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