A YOUTH MANDATE TO POLITICAL PARTIES
Every election cycle, we see a drive to get young people to participate and cast their votes in shaping the future of the country. Yet every election these efforts fall flat, with youth voting rates have decreased significantly in the past two cycles. This is often attributed to claims of the youth being apathetic and disinterested in political participation, though it is now evident that accepting this as true demonstrates a profoundly shallow understanding of the youth in South Africa. Our country has a significant population of young people. Of the 55.6 million people (Statistics South Africa, 2016) in the country, those aged 15 – 34 comprise 20.1 million. In a policy brief on voter participation in the 2014 election, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg of the Institute for Security Studies noted that there is a global trend of low young voter turnout. Surprisingly, however, as of 21st of September 2018, there were 26.1 million eligible voters registered, with a total number of young
people registered at 11.9 million – which tells a different story.