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Gabisile Cengimbo heads to the polls for the first time

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Young people ready to vote in local government elections.First time voter Gabisile Cengimbo.

Gabisile Cengimbo (18) will cast her vote for the first time on 1 November in the Municipal Elections. She says she is using the opportunity to voice her need for change.

Cengimbo, from Sigangala village in the Eastern Cape, believes the youth should lead South Africa. “This is what will inform my vote.”

By voting, Cengimbo is also able to select a candidate she believes will ensure that roads are developed and running water installed in her village.

“At the moment, the people in my village need to have tanks. If you don’t have a tank, you don’t have access to clean water. When I was a kid, taps were installed in my village, but they soon ran dry,” she says.

Cengimbo encourages her peers to vote, in the interests of their communities. “The most important thing is to vote. We won’t all vote for the same party, but we must vote so that we can use that vote for progress in our community,” she says.

Voting also enables Cengimbo to add her voice to issues affecting the country as a whole.  She says even though local government elections are for voting for local government structures, the vote she casts now will grow her political party’s support.

Durban resident Khululekile Gaga (47), who has been voting since the age of 20 in 1994, says he has seen his life improve under the democratic government.

Since his first vote in 1994,  he has seen the construction of a school, community water taps and roads in his home village. “Our votes have really made a difference. Within five years, we had already received electricity,” he says.

Much like Cengimbo, Gaga also believes the youth should lead in terms of political activism.

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa, 180 040 youth between the ages of 18 and 19 are among the 26 million South Africans who have registered to vote.