Young candidates hope to bring change

Youth stand up for election

Karabo Ledwaba Journalist
Tshiamo Malatji.
Tshiamo Malatji.
Image: Supplied.

Generation Z and young millennials who are running for the 2021 local municipal elections are proving that not all South African youth are despondent about the future. Here are some of the young community leaders who are hoping to shake things up in next month's municipal elections.

Tshiamo Malatji, 23, Independent candidate 

Malatji is a grass roots activist in the Free State who is contesting ward 19 in Mangaung, Bloemfontein. His main concerns are keeping people sheltered, building the local economy and creating sustainable solutions for problems such as hunger. He said he is running as an independent candidate to ensure that he works for his people without any political alliances. Malatji wants to make sure that government resources are used to better the lives of people in his municipality especially after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic where many people lost their jobs and housing in his community. 

“After Covid-19 hit, a lot of our community organisations, faith organisations, NGOs and activists like myself we were really struggling. We were the ones who have been holding the community up and after Covid-19 hit those who were holding the community up have been struggling as well. There are a lot of government resources that have not been used such as abandoned buildings and unallocated funds and vacant land."

Carli van Wyk.
Carli van Wyk.
Image: Supplied.

Carli van Wyk, 25, DA candidate

Van Wyk is a postgraduate LLB student at Stellenbosch University and is running in Ward 8 in Stellenbosch, Western Cape. She said some of the main issues she wants to tackle is safety, especially for women who are unable to walk freely in the evenings. Van Wyk said there is also a need for non-motorist transport in the university town and opening it up for disabled people to have easier access to places.

“As a young person I want to take ownership of my own future and therefore take the step to contribute to be part of the change in my country,” she said.

Damian de Barros, 24, Good party candidate

De Barros is contesting ward 111 in the city of Cape Town and has been involved in local elections since he was 18 years old. His main concerns are a lack of service delivery, housing, crime/gangsterism, drug use and unemployment.

Damian de Barros PIC: SUPPLIED
Damian de Barros PIC: SUPPLIED
Image: SUPPLIED

“The youth currently is very despondent in Cape Town and across the country when it comes to getting involved in politics. It's mostly to blame on the socioeconomic issue, there are no opportunities and this is exactly why we have to be involved in politics. I hope my participation will inspire other young people and people in general to get involved, ” he said.

Sivuyile Matu, 26, EFF candidate

Matu, a mathematics honours student at Wits University, is contesting in sub region F, ward 60 in the city of Johannesburg which covers places like Newtown and Braamfontein. His main concerns are poverty, gender-based violence and despondency in the youth.

Sivuyile Matu.
Sivuyile Matu.
Image: Supplied.

“I want to integrate the university with the community. It can't be that we are in a community with so many social ills and we have social workers studying who do not have any place to do their practicals. Students have innovative ideas on how we can solve the issues in the community in collaboration with them,” he said.

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