'I'd rather chill here with friends than give a politician a vote'

Voter apathy hits youngsters hard

Twenty-three year old Khanyiso Trom has never voted.
Twenty-three year old Khanyiso Trom has never voted.
Image: Karabo Ledwaba

Twenty-three-year-old Khanyiso Trom has never voted in his young life. The young photographer who prowls popular spots at Maboneng Precinct, in the east end of the Johannesburg CBD,  taking pictures of tourists and patrons, said he does not believe that voting would benefit him.

"Ever since I was a child I have noticed that politicians from all parties are only visible during voting season," he said. "I don't think voting for anyone of them will benefit me." 

Maboneng, the lifestyle hub of the inner city which has faced its fair share of economic turmoil during the Covid-19 pandemic, was teeming with young people yesterday afternoon. A sea of young adults filled a number of bars while others walked around shopping from vendors on the streets. 

A group of friends who live and party in Maboneng said they would rather spend the day together drinking than voting. The group of five who wanted to be anonymous are young professionals who believe that voting is a lost cause. They were sitting outside a bar sharing a beer wrapped in a black plastic bag.

"To be honest with you, I would rather chill here with my friends and enjoy a drink than go vote for a politician," said one 27-year-old. "I can just sit here and enjoy my day instead of queuing in a  long line."

He said he thinks many young people did not vote because the day fell on a long weekend at the end of the month. "Many people are just here to have a good time before the stress of the week starts."

Meanwhile, at the Johannesburg City Hall, residents said they are voting to make the city safer.

Samkelo Nompumza, 35, and his friend Mandla Mlandeli, 33, said they believe Action SA's Herman Mashaba has unfinished business in the city.

"Herman Mashaba has unfinished business. When he was in charge a few years ago I felt like the streets of Johannesburg were safer. That is why I am voting today," he said.

Nompumza said he hopes that the next councillor will prioritise safety and security in the city so that his family can feel safe.  

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