On Wednesday, 8 May 2019, we will all be heading to the polls to cast our votes during the sixth National and Provincial Elections in a free and democratic South Africa. It is an exciting time in our country as we also commemorate 25 years of our hard-won freedom and democracy.
As a nation, we have since 1994 made great strides and much progress in improving the lives of South Africans, especially those who were historically disadvantaged.
To ensure that we maintain and speed up the pace of change in our country, I urge all fellow South Africans to go out in their numbers to vote for the political party of their choice.
South Africa’s future is in the hands of young people and those who are eligible to vote must exercise their power to choose how they want the country to be governed.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission, South Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world. The voting population’s largest age group is between 20 and 29 years – an estimated 10.8 million people.
Many of the young people in South Africa have great ideas on how to take this country forward and improve the lives of all South Africans. Some of them are already doing good things in their communities and are contributing immensely to growing the economy.
By casting their votes in large numbers, young people will be honouring those who paid with their lives or made other sacrifices to secure the right to vote. Throughout history, young people have been hailed for their bravery and power to change social injustices.
This was evident in the youth of 1976 who took a stand against inferior education and apartheid laws. Most recently, young people took to the streets to demand change in the country’s education policy through the #Fees Must Fall movement.
Now is the time for that same fighting spirit to come alive during the national general election. Our democracy and right to vote must never be taken for granted. If you want better streets, better public transport, better municipal services and better community infrastructure, you should make your mark on election day. Elections that are regular, free, fair and vibrant are part of our identity as a new nation.
Our elections are about creating an inclusive South Africa on the basis of equal participation.
I urge all South Africans who are registered to vote to make their mark in the upcoming elections, as the future of our country is in your hands. Your vote is your power and your influence. Do not deny yourself the opportunity to move South Africa forward.
Let’s go out in our numbers and vote on 8 May 2019.