According to recent statistics, 80% of young, eligible voters (youth) have not registered to vote. These are startling stats but also worrisome. Do the young people of today just not care about their future or have they become disillusioned? Surely they should be more inclined to vote given the recent issues embodied in #FeesMustFall?
Then again, perhaps the dilemma many youths face is that they are uncertain about who to vote for or how local government elections work. I felt that way until I decided to do a bit of research. So the way I now understand it is that the local government or municipalities are the government spheres that are closest to the people. Basic services are delivered by local ward councillors, so in basic terms, these councillors represent their communities to the higher spheres of government. Co-operative governance means that the three spheres of government should work together (co-operate) to provide citizens with a comprehensive package of services (governance).
So all this means that the local elections can influence the running of the entire country as it has an influence on the executive as well as national government spheres. This brought me to the conclusion that we all ought to be voting in this week’s elections. Why? Because if you don’t vote then you really do not have any right to complain about anything in this country, right? Because you didn’t bother to try and make a difference to the decisions that are made democratically in this country. If you are unhappy about service delivery or anything for that matter that relates to the running of our beautiful country, then voting gives you the voice to be heard.
Which brings me to the next dilemma and that is that I’m not sure which party representative to vote for. No one political party right now resonates with me in all their policies, practices and administration. I may agree with some policies of one but not the other and so it goes for a few of them. So then rather not vote because you may just influence the elections negatively and cause issues to become even worse, right? Well not really. Here’s my logic (or humble opinion) – to create a democratic society in which we are heard we need to vote. The youth are the future of the country and if they want to see change or improvements, they need to vote. It could be a strategic vote to influence the balance of representation in the executive level of the government and that’s where the change begins.
This may be a bit late, but hopefully we are all a bit more enlightened about voting and its consequences for the future. Here’s to positive change, less poverty, less unhappiness and striking and more unity!
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2016.
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