By Bongekile Filana
“In 1994 we voted for our freedom, now we need to vote for our survival” this is how Tyrone Mkansi describes the attitude of thousands of social change drivers who are preparing for upcoming elections. Since 1994, South Africans in all walks of life have been exercising their right to vote and the elections are conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral commission (IEC). President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 7th of February announced the date of the sixth democratic elections as the 8th of May 2019. IEC Chief Electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told the media in Cape Town on Tuesday 29 January that, there are 700 000 new voters, 81% are under 30 years old and 52% are women. He further said “combined with new registration during March 2019 registration weekend the voter roll has seen 1.19 million new voters added ahead of upcoming elections, he concluded his report by saying he is happy that the youth has headed the call to register.
Political parties have tabled their political manifestos and young people across the country have reflected on them and shared their thoughts and views with us under the hashtag#ActivateyouthVote2019:
“We need jobs and a working economy not T-shirts and food parcels; your vote must never be influenced by food parcels. We must vote for decolonised education, economic freedom, better service delivery, and health care equality.
Any party that wants my vote must speak about land, jobs, migration and immigration laws “said Eastern Cape Activator Lwazi Ncapayi.
22 Year-old Gauteng based Activator, will be voting for the first time. She vowed to use her vote to endorse what she called “leaders with integrity.” She further said “corruption and laziness has been the order of the day in our
country. Now, it is time to vote for change. “Our country’s progressive policies have been catching dust somewhere in government offices. These upcoming elections are a good time to vote for a party that will implement these policies urgently. Ke Nako- Its Time! Shakwane said.
KwaZulu-Natal based social change driver Mbalezulu Dlamini reminded all citizens that being South African doesn’t start and end purely by demanding service delivery but as citizens, we have a civic duty to vote. “Voting is extremely important and diversifying our votes is also extremely important instead of turning South Africa into a one party state. I know there is a growing number of people who are despondent about voting. They might not care now but again, I repeat, voting is very important. If we don’t vote now, our generation will be judged,” said Dlamini.
The A! Network with more than 3500 young people has started the countdown to elections. The countdown challenge is accompanied by many events such as community manifestos, Imbizos and twitter chats and webinars to mobilise and educate youth about the importance of voting. ACTIVATE! has recently launched the 2019 Election community champions and observers campaign in partnership with IEC to make sure that, there is transparency and elections are free and fair.