Campus voter drive hindered

2019-02-27 06:01

The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Free State has registered a low number of youths at the 28 tertiary institutions in the province during its special campaign.

Held from 18 to 20 Feb­ruary, the drive galvanised youth to register to vote during the 2019 provincial and national election on 8 May.

Mmathabo Rasengane, the IEC’s provincial spokesperson, said the commission managed to register a mere 1 817 youths.

She said the number was less than bargained for, considering the extra effort the commission took to encourage youths as future leaders to register in numbers for the upcoming elections.

“At some campuses, students showed no interest to register to vote during the elections.

“Classes were suspended due to protest action by students,” said Rasengane.

She said the IEC also had to deal with the challenge of industrial action by workers affiliated with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

Rasengane said the strike hindered the process at least at four campuses.

These campuses are that of the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State; the Maluti Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in the Eastern Free State and the Motheo TVET College in Zastron and Bloemfontein.

She said youth showed little interest in registering, which indicates youth voter apathy does exists.

Rasengane added that this was despite the industrial action by workers at the four campuses.

She said political parties were visible to observe the registration process.

Rasengane said the view held is that a significant number of youth had already registered before the campus initiative.

The 2019 elections will be the sixth since the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994.

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