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Why I did not vote: Investment in youth and education will not be addressed by voting

14 May 2019

By Boitumelo Mainganya

“I was born in an era of trends where every five years there is a vibe in and around the country. Believers of hope and change make their way to different voting stations hoping to bring change for tomorrow.

I am more or less the same age as South Africa’s freedom which makes a ‘born free’. My expectations will differ slightly from those who were part and parcel of the apartheid government.

Throughout the years nothing much has changed except different presidents who keep promising to change the county. Closer to the election they deployed an initiative called the ‘last push’ which thus proves their lack of delivery.

Youth focus initiatives top the list of services delivery items I expect from whichever party wins. Young people by nature are opinionated and creative. The government must fund youth programmes and ideas.

As youth we are eager to bring about change in the business and economic sector by establishing our own businesses, which in turn would qualify us to be entrepreneurs. We are being denied opportunities as we don’t qualify for business loans, but rather qualify to have an allowance for an expensive car and a house as a bond.

When I qualified to have an identity document I was very excited, but as soon as I qualified to vote I was discovered that I was not as fascinated and enthusiastic as I thought I would be.

I made a decision not to set my foot at polling station, because I believed that by voting I would be empowering those who are decision makers at the expense of the poor.

As a person with disability, and according the constitution of our country, I automatically fall under the marginalised group that was historically neglected by the apartheid government. During election campaigns different parties canvas by promising us (people with disabilities) a better life in the form of improved services for our different needs.

I have read three different manifestos from different political parties and they more or less say the same thing. The difference is in their implementation strategy. Rome wasn’t built in a day indeed, but to date I have not seen any fully implemented promises. Worse, the youth is not prioritised.

South Africa is full of energetic, enthusiastic and creative young people who believe in building their own, but the education system is failing us.

Investment in youth and investment in education are key issues for South Africa today. Significant as they are, neither will be addressed by voting, but rather by a willing, ruling party.”

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