Pretoria – Musa Canga, a 21-year-old South African, has encouraged his peers to participate in the 2016 Local Government Elections, to realise transformation and improve service delivery in their communities.
Canga, who is a student at the University of Pretoria, said youth have a role to play in the future of the country and they should exercise their right to vote.
He spoke to SAnews on Friday morning during a campaign to create awareness around the voter registration weekend and the importance of collecting your ID so that you can register to vote.
The campaign was led by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Tshwane City Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa at the Pretoria Train Station.
The Independent Electoral Commission will host a voter registration drive this weekend.
Voter registration stations will be open from 8am to 5pm for South Africans to get registered and those who are already on the voter’s roll to update their details, ahead of the local government elections.
“I feel like most youth today find politics boring and politicians are not doing enough to attract them. As the youth, we have our own needs that have to be addressed, hence I feel it is important to get ourselves involved in politics,” Canga said.
He said for political parties it was important to win local government elections so that they get the masses behind them for the future national and provincial elections.
Minister Gigaba and Mayor Ramokgopa interacted with the public at the train station, bus terminus and taxi rank as well as the hawkers in the area.
They handed out pamphlets with information regarding getting an ID and how to go about registering for the local government elections.
The public responded positively and said they were looking forward to the local government elections later this year. The date of the elections is yet to be announced.
Minister Gigaba said the voter registration weekend was an important period for South Africans.
The goal was to ensure that as many South Africans as possible are registered to vote as there are currently nine million unregistered eligible voters in the country.
About 1.5 million of the unregistered eligible voters are between the ages of 18 and 19 years old, who will be voting for the first time this year.
“It is important for us in our different capacities to assist the Electoral Commission to discharge its mandate because it has a Constitutional mandate
“[Voting is] a right that many people fought and died for. It is our responsibility as South Africans to play our part in building our future. That is why we are here today with the City of Tshwane to mobilise South Africans who have not collected their IDs to collect them so that they can register tomorrow.
“It is part of our effort of heightening public consciousness about elections, heightening public mobilisation to register tomorrow and participate in the elections,” said Minister Gigaba.
About 25 million South Africans are registered to vote, but the Minister said this number must increase, particularly among the young people who are an important constituency in the country.
The Minister said there were about 200 000 smart cards and 70 000 green bar-coded ID books awaiting collection at Home Affairs offices across the country. He called on citizens to collect them so that they can register.
If the documents remain uncollected, they should be sent back to the department’s head offices after the elections have past, and in a period of a year they will be destroyed.
He said Home Affairs offices will be open from 8am until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, coinciding with the registration drive this weekend.
Mayor Ramokgopa reiterated that this period is an opportunity for citizens to exercise their right. He called on all who are not registered to do so