The Inkatha Freedom Party believes that the low youth turnout at voter registration stations this past weekend could be attributed to youth disillusionment linked to the lack of job opportunities and the crisis at universities.
“Our youth feel discouraged when they do not see any prospects of a bright future for them. They feel let down by a government that makes repeated promises of creating thousands of new jobs which do not materialise and they are left wandering the streets with no hope in sight. Our youth unemployment is incredibly high even though we have young people who have matriculated and have some tertiary qualification. Our government often plays around with employment figures using the jobs created thought the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) but these jobs are temporary and there is little or no transfer of skills. After a few months those who were employed through this programme find themselves out of a job again but government records will brag of having created jobs”’ said IFP National Chairman, Hon Blessed Gwala MPL.
“Our economic future is rather bleak with growth hovering around the 1% mark. It is unfortunate that it is politics rather than sound financial acumen that is driving our economic policy. Our youth will certainly find some hope if government focuses more attention on skills development by reopening training colleges and encouraging foreign direct investment. The Youth Wage Subsidy would have gone a long way in creating new and sustainable jobs. Young people need a purpose in life and they want upward mobility but in the present economic climate they do not see much prospect of that happening. They have no faith in our government, hence they see no point in registering to vote. Government needs to work smart in turning the economy around using local conditions and local resources. We need to give our youth confidence in our government if we want them to participate in the democratic process. In the absence of national pride and hope for the future, our youth are highly unlikely to turn up at the polls. We need to do all that we can to encourage the youth to register as voters and make their voices heard through the ballot box”’ concluded Hon Gwala.