Politics

South African Youth on 2019 Elections: "The ANC can no longer self-correct"

We talked to a few South African youth about who they're voting for and why.

South Africa will be holding its national elections on the 8th of May this year. These elections are set to be the most fiercely contested elections to date and understandably so. It has become a real possibility that Nelson Mandela's beloved African National Congress (ANC) may very well lose these upcoming elections. All this country has ever known is the ANC - the political party of many struggle heroes. And with Apartheid still an open wound far from any true healing, there is a genuine fear for a number of South Africans that under a Democratic Alliance (DA) government, there could be a return to a regime of racial exclusion.


From the heavily fractured and corrupt ruling ANC, to the radical-posturing of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to the consistently inconsistent DA, South Africans are not particularly spoiled for choice. With over 6 million South African youth (under 35 years) having not registered in the last registration weekend (26th-27th January), it seems that this particular group may again have a low voter turnout.

We spoke to a few young South Africans to find out whether they'll be voting, who they'll be voting for and what they hope these upcoming elections will hold for the country's future and prosperity. It was no surprise that none of them expressed much confidence in the ANC. Not many young people feel that the ANC can self-correct and purge itself of the festering rot. What was surprising however, albeit understandable, was the sheer level of anxiety and inner conflict these young people were going through in their attempt to decide who they'd be voting for.


Atang Biyela, 24, Student

Are you going to be voting on the 8th of May?

Yes, I am voting. There is no way that I will not be voting. I am a citizen of this country and it is my democratic right to vote and I will exercise it just as much as I exercise all my other rights. It's only right.

Which political party will you be voting for and why?

I don't know. We have a corrupt ruling party but they're also our struggle heroes and all this democratic country has ever known. You have the DA which seems racist and doesn't seem to have any direction. The DA doesn't have the interests of Black people at heart which means, by default, they don't have the interests of this country as a whole at heart. Personally, I am not radical. I'm not sure how long the EFF can sustain themselves to be honest.

Do you think any of the Big 3 (ANC, EFF and DA) are capable of effectively running SA?

My fear with the EFF is a fear of the unknown. If they take over, how will this affect the economy? It may seem like I'm an 'enemy of progress' or not 'woke' but investor confidence is a real thing which affects people's livelihoods. Last time I voted for the ANC but now I am not sure anymore given the many recent revelations. They really can't rectify things or fix their image. I don't trust them. I'm not willing to give the DA a chance. Seeing how they're governing the Western Cape, I don't like that preview.

What are some other thoughts you'd like to share?

The biggest challenge for me is really just who to vote for.

What is your greatest hope for South Africa regardless of the election outcome?

Given countries like the DRC, Kenya and Nigeria, who have all had elections before us and they haven't been ideal, I just wish ours will be peaceful. I hope that the parties that are campaigning have the people's interests at heart, although we've seen the contrary. It's disheartening but I feel we need to keep bettering our country and voting is one tool to use for that.


Anonymous, 32, Public Health Researcher

Are you going to be voting on the 8th of May?

Yes. I will be voting to make my mark. I think it's important to vote as the power of governing this country is given by voters.

Which political party will you be voting for and why?

I will be voting for the EFF. This is the party that prioritizes the needs of Black people and the poor. In addition, the issue of state capture, the Guptas, the SABC woes and Eskom disaster have all been issues the public has been made aware of because of the EFF. The land without compensation act was primarily an EFF project before the ANC took over.

Do you think any of the Big 3 (ANC, EFF and DA) are capable of effectively running South Africa?

Well the EFF is the only party that caters to the needs of the youth and talks the language of the future. They are the only party that talks about improving security in government schools and bringing change to the decaying health sector. The ANC, however, has cheated us and blindfolded our eyes to think that how they are governing, is all because of Apartheid. I have confidence in the DA, however, I doubt they can run the country because of the racism and segregation existing within the party itself.

What are some other thoughts you'd like to share?

One president in the past took R242 million for the building of his homestead Nkandla while we have a painfully high youth unemployment rate. Maladministration will always prosper if people on the ground do not wake up and vote for change.

What is your greatest hope for South Africa regardless of the election outcome?

I know the ANC will win anyway but my biggest hope is for the ANC to obtain less than half of the vote and have fewer seats in parliament. If we fail to reduce the party's power in office, the next five years will be captured by the likes of billionaire Patrice Motsepe or the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe.


Boitshoko Baloyi, 24, Student

Are you going to be voting on the 8th of May?

Definitely. I've registered to vote simply because we live in a country where we have the privilege to have our voices heard in terms of who we want to rule. Our grandparents fought very hard for that privilege.

Which political party will you be voting for and why?

Before the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, I felt the EFF were fighting for the truth. I concede I don't know their actual manifesto to be honest. The VBS scandal, however, broke my heart. The EFF spend a huge part of their campaign outing the ANC's corruption and yet go on to steal from the poor, the very people they say they're fighting for.

Do you think any of the Big 3 (ANC, EFF and DA) are capable of effectively running South Africa?

The ANC has too many scandals. They have become arrogant in that they think they can act without impunity. They need to see a dent in their votes. I'm definitely not voting for them. They're like a cheating boyfriend. They won't change if we accept their mistreatment. I can't vote for the DA. I can't vote for a party with so many White people. There are so many racists like, for example, Penny Sparrow, who are affiliated with the DA. They're too white for my taste and maybe that is racist but it's the honest truth. Also, they're not particularly pro-DA in themselves, they're just forever anti-ANC.

What are some other thoughts you'd like to share?

The DA, ANC and EFF are the most likely candidates in terms of winning the election. I don't know who to vote for because I feel disappointed in all three for various reasons. I think I'll vote for an underdog minority party that no-one really knows about. But I still need to do my research and really think about it. I want to read their manifestos but they [the parties] don't stick to them. Corruption is not in their manifesto but yet here we're are.


Jeanine Botha, 27, Teacher

Are you going to be voting on the 8th of May?

I will be voting this time around honestly because of peer pressure.

Which political party will you be voting for and why?

Historically, the ANC vs DA dynamic has been seen simultaneously as being Black vs White. Everyone expects all the White people to vote for the DA. But I'm suffering from an existential crisis with regards to race and voting for the DA. Am I only voting for the DA because I want to keep my comfortable White middle-class status quo? Ultimately I will vote for the DA though because I feel they can offer decent opposition to the ANC.

Do you think any of the Big 3 (ANC, EFF and DA) are capable of effectively running South Africa?

For me it's basically all about the ANC and the DA. This binary is because I live in an area that is very much DA vs ANC. I want to vote for a party that I know is actually going to bring about a difference. There have equally been many accusations of corruption in the Western Cape which is run by the DA.

What are some other thoughts you'd like to share?

We're no longer in the position to give the ANC the opportunity to self-correct because it [corruption] only seems to get worse. And in the meanwhile, people are suffering. We need to give the ANC competition so that they're not comfortable but in the same breath, who do we then vote for? Is the DA as kosher as they purport to be? Maimane uses every opportunity to make a jab at the ANC or another political party. I think that's quite annoying and not useful.

What is your greatest hope for South Africa regardless of the election outcome?

That would be for us to stop focusing on our differences and learn to truly care for our fellow South Africans, regardless of race, gender, religion and whatever other differences we get so hung up about.


Mosangoaneng Leteane, 24, Student

Are you going to be voting on the 8th of May?

I will be voting, yes.

Which political party will you be voting for and why?

I don't see who is really carrying the democratic project right now, leadership-wise. I don't know. I will tell you that people want change and the EFF is saying things that I personally find refreshing. We need a voice that can make controversial statements and unsettle the discourse. But as an actual government, I'm not sure. The ANC has been a government for a long time but even they're still not getting it right either.

Do you think any of the Big 3 (ANC, EFF and DA) are capable of effectively running South Africa?

I don't know. And this is still a huge anxiety for me. The ANC can no longer self-correct. They need a regeneration of their politics overall. ANC politics aren't as diverse as we think they are. The DA is not even an option for me. Like I said, the EFF is important to challenge the status quo.

What are some other thoughts you'd like to share?

I wasn't going to register to vote. I felt incredibly betrayed but a few things shook me. One of them was the fact that people died. Daily we see the aftermath of Apartheid. A heavy price was paid for my being able to vote. Currently, in various parts of the world, there are people who can't vote and we take it for granted. It's bigger than just one political party. Elections may not fix things instantaneously, but there's a moral obligation to vote.

What is your greatest hope for South Africa regardless of the election outcome?

My hope would be to go back to our founding values, to the fundamentals and to the very beginning. I hope we remember why we began the democratic project in the first place: the rule of law, equality and human dignity. However, it requires we take ownership of where we've gone wrong. It will get better though and I have a lot of hope in our youth. It will just take time.

popular
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Former South African President Infuriates South Africans With Comments on Apartheid

Former President F.W. de Klerk claims that 'Apartheid was not a crime against humanity'.

Former South African president F.W. de Klerk has stirred controversy after he made claims that "Apartheid was not a crime against humanity".

The former statesman made the comments during a number of interviews held amid events last week which were commemorating the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

Keep reading...
popular
Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Ethiopians React to Passing of Controversial ‘Hate Speech’ Law

Many are concerned that the new law is the government's attempt to suppress freedom of speech instead.

Yesterday, the Ethiopian government passed a law which will punish what it deems to be "hate speech" and "disinformation" with large fines and serious jail time, according to Aljazeera. The new law comes just before elections are set to take place this year in Ethiopia.

At least 300 members of parliament voted in favor of the new law which several civil rights groups have warned will undermine free speech in the East African country.

Keep reading...
Video
Stormzy performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) via Getty Images.

Watch Stormzy's Powerful BRIT Awards Performance Featuring Burna Boy

The night saw the British-Ghanaian star run through a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head.

The BRIT Awards 2020, which went down earlier this week, saw the likes of Stormzy take home the Best Male trophy home and Dave win Best Album.

The night also saw Stormzy deliver a stunning performance that featured a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head. The British-Ghanaian star started things out slow with "Don't Forget to Breathe," before popping things off with "Do Better" then turning up the heat with "Wiley Flow."

Stormzy nodded to J Hus, playing a short bit of "Fortune Teller," before being joined onstage by Nigeria's Burna Boy to perform their hit "Own It." Burna Boy got his own moment and performed an energetic rendition of his African Giant favorite "Anybody."

The night was closed off with a powerful message that read: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is beautiful man." The message flashed on a black screen before a moving performance of "Rainfall" backed by his posse.

Watch the full performance below.

Keep reading...
popular
The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.