'Parties didn't do enough to encourage youth to vote': Mcebo Dlamini

Mcebo Dlamini. File photo.
Mcebo Dlamini. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla.

Former student leader Mcebo Dlamini said it was unfortunate that so many young people showed no interest in voting.

He described their lack of interest as a miscarriage of democracy on Wednesday. 

Dlamini was speaking in Vilakazi Street, at Orlando West in Soweto, shortly after casting his vote.

"It doesn't matter who you vote for, but for young people to lose interest in voting is a miscarriage of democracy, and it's really sad," he said. 

"One would really hope that young people would have the energy to vote with the emergence of the fees must fall and Rhodes must fall movements. We thought that these would have raised the level of consciousness in our people."

Dressed in ANC regalia, he was among the 2,000 people who applied to cast their votes at Orlando West High School, situated just a few metres away from the Mandela family home. 

He also criticised contesting political parties for not doing enough to encourage the youth. 

“I think all the parties who are contesting elections this year, didn’t do well in terms of encouraging people to vote. During the voter registration we didn’t see massive campaigns ... to say vote, go and register, and those kind of things,” he said.

IEC presiding officer Joseph Malindi said voting was going smoothly with more than 600 people having voted there by 2pm. 

A 24-year-old informal trader, who also helped voters park their cars and guides tourists in the area, said he had no intention of voting as it did not serve his interests.  

"Freedom and democracy are only an idea for us the poor. We're often referred to as born frees but what is it that we are free from? I am working but earn peanuts, which is why I have to wash people's cars, help here and there to get R10 so I can pay a student loan for example.  

"There is a lot I can mention but believe me there is no point in voting. It only benefits a few, the minority. But I am happy to assist and get the little that I get from tourists," he added.  

On an average day he earns about R200.

Dlamini said young people who did not vote on the basis of service delivery did not understand the power to vote.  

"To say you won't vote because of service delivery then, I mean, its sad. It means you don't understand the power to vote and how you can actually ensure there is service delivery," he added. 

The political big hitters all cast their votes on May 8 2019 as South Africans headed to the election polls. This is what the former leaders as well as the hopeful politicians had to say after casting their vote.