Durban’s first time voters share their election hopes, expectations and commit to exercising the power of their vote

In this file picture, dozens of people queued outside the Durban City Hall to cast their votes. Picture: Zanele Zulu/IndependentNewspaper

In this file picture, dozens of people queued outside the Durban City Hall to cast their votes. Picture: Zanele Zulu/IndependentNewspaper

Published May 23, 2024


by Thobeka Mthembu

First time young voters are gearing up to make their voices heard on the ballot when they vote for the first time next week.

Young people in Durban who will vote for the first time next week have had their say, despite voting registration data showing that young people under 30 were falling short in voter registrations.

Voter registration data from the Electoral Commission of South Africa shows that just over 550,000 young people under 20 are registered to vote, while just 4.4 million young people between 20-29 are registered to vote.

This means at least 4.9 million young people under 30 are eligible to vote, while Census 2022 data, for the age categories 20-24 and the 25-29, show there were over 11 million young people between the ages of 20-29.

In the last elections, the ANC the elections by securing 10 million votes.

Durban youth speak

“I am feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. It is my first time voting, so its a big moment for me and I am eager to have my voice heard,” said 22-year-old Minenhle Thusi, a first time voter, originally from kwaDlangezwa who currently resides in Durban

The unemployed journalism graduate said she wanted to see job opportunities for young people and said she felt empowered by voting.

“I believe every vote counts, so my vote can contribute to making a difference and shaping our future.

Minenhle Thusi a a 22 years old first time voter. Picture: Supplied

“After the elections, I want to see better job opportunities, improved education, and safer communities.

“I hope the new leaders will work on reducing crime, fixing infrastructure, and providing more support for young people. My biggest aspiration is to see real changes that improve our daily lives and give us hope for a better future”, said Thusi.

Another young black female first time voter, Nontobeko Sithole, 22, who is a student at the Mfolozi TVET College in KwaDukuza, said she wanted to see change.

“I am hoping that elections bring positive change and that the leaders who get elected will address the issues that matter most to us, like jobs, education and safety. I want to see improvement.

“There is actually a lot of change that I want to see after the elections, like reducing crime, creating jobs for people and also stopping the corruption that is happening in South Africa,” she said.

Newlands’ Lethokuhle Khoza, 23, who is unemployed, said she was despondent.

“To be honest I do not feel excited for a first-time voter with all that is going on with the conflicts between African National Congress (ANC) and uMkhonto weSizwe (MK).

“I just hope that for this one time all elections and voting becomes peaceful and fair with any foul play or corruption,” said Khoza.

Lethokuhle Khoza a 23 years old first time voter. Picture: Supplied

“I want to see change and a leader who will be able to bring change and create opportunities for the youth,” she said.

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