Voter apathy by the youth a result of numerous challenges they face

President Cyril Ramaphosa is flanked by the first 100 beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Service (YES). The IEC revealed that millions of youngsters were not registered to vote prior to elections.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is flanked by the first 100 beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Service (YES). The IEC revealed that millions of youngsters were not registered to vote prior to elections.
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan

Today's youth are not voter apathetic per se but are faced with a huge carbuncle of unemployment. Though the national figure sits at 27.6%, youth joblessness is at 55%.

Drug abuse, mainly nyaope and tik, further restrains their ability to plan for future with clarity and logical thinking.

Unlike the class of '76 that was solely wrestling with apartheid, theirs are multifaceted, which render them helpless and hopeless. It's not that they don't value and appreciate the sacrifices made by their forebears, they are overwhelmed and frustrated by their situation. Added to their frustration, is seeing some of their getting ahead in life.

Exploitation is also getting the better of the youths. In one company in my neighbourhood, about 15 recently employed youths are required to pay R500 a week to the human resources officer for hiring them. For fear of reprisals, they are keeping mum.

However, they continue to ask questions that remain unanswered: Where do we report malfeasance in this depraved society? What have we done to deserve these excruciating pain and suffering? Will this inherited generational poverty ever come to an end? Will our energy, innovative and creative thinking ever find a constructive outlet? Can we really apportion voter apathy by our youth?

Thami Zwane, Edenvale

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