THE new SA was founded on the principle of democratic participation that guaranteed the right of all citizens to have a role in shaping government and the rule of law. Now we face a new challenge — the majority of young people do not vote.

Voting is a fundamental process that keeps our system of government working. Reading up on the issues and candidates is the responsibility of every citizen voter, a responsibility that should not be taken lightly because voting can change the direction of a community, state, nation and even the world.

So, why do some people refuse to participate in elections when the officials and issues voted on have such a strong influence on nearly every aspect of their lives? Many argue that their vote does not really count. Some say that they do not know enough about the issues.

With weeks to go to the local government elections, all major political parties will hold their final campaigning rallies this coming weekend. You cannot have a successful democratic system without the support and votes of the youth.

We went to war for our democracy. Thousands of South Africans fought for our rights, they shed their blood to give us what we have today. The power lies in our hands when we vote. We have the opportunity to change what we do not like and bring about something we do like. We can’t allow our democracy to weaken and disintegrate through complacency.

Young people should be the ones to shape the future. If they fail to vote they are yielding their power to adults to make decisions about the leaders and laws that will shape and lead society for decades, and you can be sure those decisions will not be congruent with the youth psyche and perspective.

If you choose not to vote, you waive your right to complain. Voting demonstrates your good faith attempt to get the political outcome you desire, and gives you every right to complain if politicians do not keep their promises.

Bakhaliphicebo Nakedi



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