As part of a two-day campaign to entice voters back to the ballots after years of declining participation, polling places across the nation opened their doors to allow would-be voters to register or check their information.
Oliver Curlewis, an 18-year-old high school student who registered to vote for the first time in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb, said,” I’m hoping that these elections will change South Africa because if it keeps going downhill there is no point me staying here, I’ll have to emigrate abroad.”
Many South Africans are no longer satisfied with their government due to subpar services, a protracted energy crisis, and the faltering economy.
Since South Africans joyfully waited to cast their ballots in the first democratic elections in 1994, voter numbers have decreased every five years.
Only 49 % of those who could vote showed up on election day in the most recent elections in 2019.
Particularly young people have avoided the area.
IEC will target young people during voter registration weekend, according to the article.
Only 15 % of all eligible voters, ages 18 to 19, and 30 % of those aged 20 to 29, cast ballots in 2019.
It’s time to take action, says” calling out the 14 million unregistered youth”! On Saturday, the electoral commission urged young people to “gather your squad and hit a registration station” in an online letter.
— There is no appeal–
The call was not being answered by everyone.
At the school where Curlewis registered, party stalls had been set up outside where bored political representatives chatted and played board games. The chairs that were set aside to accommodate queues were empty.
Even though it was possible to register online, less than 30 people had already visited the station, which serves a ward of over 2,000 residents, just before closing time.
I just want to know if it’s really worthwhile. 20-year-old Noluthando Tshazibane, who was out shopping at a nearby mall, said.
Accusations of corruption and poor management have damaged the once-stellar reputation of the ruling African National Congress ( ANC), which was once led by Nelson Mandela.
According to polls, it may lose its overall parliament majority for the first time in 2024 and experience a vote decline below 50 % after the end of apartheid.
However, discontent with the ANC has n’t directly led to opposition support.
A 26-year-old medical student who preferred not to give her name said she would not register as she passed another polling place off a busy shopping street in Johannesburg’s run-down city center.
She complained that no party appealed to her and that “old people” dominated South African politics, saying,” I do not know who to vote for.”
The election will take place between May and August of next year, according to the electoral commission’s announcement from last month.
As President Cyril Ramaphosa visited a polling place in Soweto early in the morning, he advised party activists to “go out into the community and campaign as hard as possible so that we can show that the ANC is the only party that can continue to govern this country.”