Youth in Khayelitsha vote for free education and job creation

Voting queue at The Ark Educare Centre, Nkanini, Khayelitsha. Photo by Mzi Velapi

Virgin voters in Khayelitsha hope their votes will change their circumstances.

Young people who were first-time voters say that they voted for job creation for youth and free education. This is one finding of a cursory survey conducted by Elitsha on election day at some of the 91 voting stations in Khayelitsha, most of them in informal settlements. Young people born between June 1996 and April 2001 will have voted for the first time. Most of the youth that Elitsha spoke to are unemployed or studying at an FET college.

We met 22-year-old Wendy Magala in Green Point informal settlement. “I voted for job creation for young people as well as free education. Whoever is in power after [the election] has to create jobs for young people. We need decent jobs. We are also poor and cannot afford to pay high fees at institutions of higher learning,” said the Public Management student, at Northlink College.

“We also need services like toilets and houses in our area,” added Magala.

Samkelo Komanisi, an Art & Design student at the College of Cape Town said that he also voted for free education but he would also like to see social projects that aimed at the issue of alcohol and drug abuse by young people. “Most young people of my age abuse alcohol and drugs. There are no programmes to deal with the pressures that young people are faced with,” said the 19-year-old from Makhaza.

Grade 12 learner at Sizimisele Technical High School in Makhaya, Ntando Maseko also said that there is a need for social projects that will help young people deal with drug and alcohol abuse.

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Unemployed 21-year-old, Vuyo Mateyise from Makhaza said job creation and service delivery for the townships is what he voted for. “We need jobs but we also want electrification of the informal settlements,” he said.

First-year Horticulture student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Ntomifuthi Mziwakhe said the party that will be in power needs to make sure that there are recreational and sports facilities for young people. “Young people loitre around and end up doing drugs because there are no recreational or sports facilities in the areas we stay in,” said the Nkanini resident.

Siphosethu Ngulube from Nkanini said she voted for free education, proper housing and job opportunities for young people. “We can’t afford to pay fees at institutions of higher learning and we stay in shacks, so the government should build houses for us,” said the 21-year-old. Ngulube is unemployed and she matriculated in 2017 at Siphamandla High

Youth unemployment in South Africa is sitting at 53% and the country’s extreme inequality made the cover of Time magazine this month.

In their election manifestos the three biggest political parties, the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) make numerous promises to young people.

The ANC in its election manifesto said it is committed to invest in sectors such as mining and manufacturing and is further committed to doubling the annual rate of employment by reforming sectors that have greater potential for growth and job creation.

The DA, on the other hand, committed to pilot a special youth job-seeker rental subsidy voucher aimed at graduates whose skills are in demand but do not have the means to stay in the cities.

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The EFF promised to ensure that most products and goods will be locally produced, thereby creating more jobs. To encourage investors that employ and sustain a minimum of 2,000 jobs, the red berets would offer them special economic zones benefits such as tax incentives.

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