- Millions of young South Africans do not vote each election cycle
- Often, this is because they feel alienated from political parties or do not view their votes as bringing about any change
- These millions of eligible young voters opting out of elections is a major challenge for South African democracy
More than 4.5 million eligible young South Africans will not vote on 8 May.
Several explanations have been suggested as to why these young citizens choose not to cast their ballots.
Commonly proposed reasons include apathy, frustration with the political system, feelings of alienation from political leaders and a feeling that voting is not the best way to bring change.
According a study conducted by ISS researcher and author, Lauren Tracey-Themba, South Africans were most concerned about unemployment, corruption, poor education and poor infrastructure.
However, for millions of young South Africans, these concerns do not translate into votes. Several of the participants in the study said that they viewed politics as being full of corruption and self-enrichment.
Others said they felt that they gained nothing from voting or engaging in politics, according to BusinessTech.
Other young people who spoke to Eyewitness News said they did not connect with any of the political parties or did not feel than any of the candidates understood them, Briefly.co.za has gathered.
Some political analysts have also pointed out that many young people on the peripheries of society, such as the unemployed, do not participate in the political system. In a country with 50% youth unemployment, this is a serious issue.
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