2019 South African general election: Analysis and News

'I have registered to vote, but I will not be voting this year'

Youth Lab has compiled a South African Youth Manifesto which is a mandate from young South Africans to political parties sharing the youth's vision for the 2019 elections.

Managing director at the Youth Lab Pearl Pillay speaks to #702Breakfast's Bongani Bingwa broadcasting live at Wits University on Wednesday about this youth manifesto.

When we conceptualised the SA Youth Manifesto, we did it under the premise that generally, political party manifestos are not incredibly consultative.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

So they will consult with members of their party, but it is hard to find political parties that go to the ground and speak to the general population about their thoughts and views.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

When a political party formulates a manifesto, Pillay says she often calls into question whether that manifesto is representative of what young South Africans want to see.

So we thought if young people had to write their manifesto, how would it look? We went to all nine provinces and spoke to young people about their range of challenges that are facing them and also what interventions they want to see happening.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

She adds that young people are frustrated with the kind of political rhetoric that they hear over and over again.

Read: 'Yes we might be born free from apartheid but structural issues remain the same'

So everyone is talking about how we need to create jobs, but no one has given us something that is concrete that we can say that this is something we can plug into.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

Pillay says it is not enough for the government to say that it will provide funding and cut the red tape for small businesses.

The environment for entrepreneurship in this country is challenging. Even when you have a well-funded entrepreneur, small business support into the market place is not provided.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

We really need to think about the experiences of young people when we think about interventions that are needed.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

She adds that even though political parties were not part of drafting the SA Youth Manifesto, the Youth Lab invited major parties to come and discuss it.

She believes that the youth are the biggest constituency in the country and political parties have not leveraged that fact.

Political parties have not found ways to value young people and include them in the political space and that is why young people are rejecting them.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

So I wouldn't say that the reasons young people are not interested in voting are apathy, I think it is a very measured decision.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

I am one of the young people that have registered to vote, but I will not be voting this year. From the work that we have done and the places we have been to, there is a general sense of hopelessness.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

I look at our political spectrum and I see many sides of the same coin - leaders who are so divorced from the realities of this country.

Pearl Pillay, Managing director - Youth Lab

Listen below to the full interview:


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