Johannesburg – A webinar has called on the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) and government to facilitate infrastructure and create lasting solutions to address the low youth voter turnout in the country.
The webinar was hosted on Thursday by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), in partnership with Agape Youth Movement, to discuss the importance of youth participation in the upcoming Local Government Elections.
With not much time until the 1 November polls, the panelists have challenged the IEC to come up with innovative and digitized solutions for the future to ensure that the youth plays an active role in the development of the country.
Speaking at the webinar, Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini, a youth leader, activist, and Founder and President of the Soweto Parliament said that there is simply no infrastructure for young people to vote.
He said the IEC needs to go where young people are and offer them easy access to voting.
“Young people are in schools… Why can’t young people register to vote at schools and come voting time, we have a special voting category in the classroom? In doing this, already you have opened a new door of young people in millions that will be voting.
“Why is the government not facilitating solutions that will ensure that young people vote in their numbers because the future of the country is in the hands of young people?” Dlamini asked.
The webinar also addressed the socio-economic challenges that contribute to the low youth voter turnout and hinder the youth from voting.
“The mind is always a slave to the environment. You look at the environment in townships, there is a bottle store in every corner (sic). The social ills are higher than anything that is productive. Come voting time, you are faced with youth that is drunk, high, irritated, and disgruntled.
“We need to do more to make sure that the environment is in a better position to accommodate the mindset that young people want to pursue,” Dlamini said.
The webinar has encouraged young people to go out in their numbers to exercise their right to vote in the Local Government Elections on 1 November.
The panelists have urged the youth to take their time to do research on political parties, what they represent and promise, so they can make an informed decision when heading to the polls.
The panelists said the youth should take the initiative and responsibility for what is happening in their communities, and hold their ward counsillors accountable.
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