Alex gogo: I am voting because I want my children to be employed

In Alexandra, in the north of Johannesburg, there's growing concerns among the elderly about the low turnout of young people at the polls.

FILE: Picture: Eyewitness News.

ALEXANDRA/PRETORIA - After months of preparations and heated campaigning, South Africans are making their mark in one of the most crucial municipal elections in years.

However in Alexandra, in the north of Johannesburg, there's growing concerns among the elderly about the low turnout of young people at the polls.

There's a hub of activity in Alexandra on Monday with young people in ward 6 specifically taking full advantage of the public holiday.

Music could be heard on every street corner and others are enjoying their beverages from the boot of their cars.

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But across the road from the festivities, Esther Mphahlele (80) tightly grips her crutch barely making her way up the steep incline into the Thusong Youth Centre voting station. She, like many of the elderly there, have come by foot to cast their vote.

She said she was voted in every election since 1994 while her 27-year-old granddaughter has lost interest.

“Most of our children are not working. If they can change that and provide employment for the kids, then maybe there might be a difference.”

Foster Ndaba (70) said he did not blame the youth for being reluctant to vote given the state of the their community.

“If you walk down the streets, all you will see are potholes.”

This year's election take place in the shadow of soaring youth unemployment rate, civil unrest, deep-seated poverty and widened inequality.


Elderly people in Mabopane, north of Pretoria, also called on youth to go out in their numbers and vote on Monday.

Queues at some voting stations had no young people, while they make up the majority in the area's population group.

Touching their umbrellas to block the scorching sun, an elderly couple walked with difficulty out of the voting station.

Ahead of them, another couple of seniors made their way past the little garden at the bottom of the school where they had cast their vote.

Despite their obvious struggle with mobility, they said they could not squander their vote.

The woman pleaded with young people to vote to secure a better future.

"The young people are the ones who need to be proactive because our days are numbered on this earth. We need young people to be the ones choosing to become councillors and mayors," she said.

Her husband said that he trusted that the political party he voted for would deliver on its promises.

"What remains is that we want those we elect to deliver on what they committed to do. Their promises must be delivered because we don't just vote for nothing,” the man said.

People over the age of 60 account for only 4% of the population in Ward 21.

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