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FOCUS OF 2016 ELECTIONS MUST BE SQUARELY ON YOUTH – COPE

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Congress of the People believes that young people must be continuously encouraged to view elections and politics very positively. Armed with the Constitution, young people should work collectively to drive the best bargain they can with parties contesting the elections. They have the numbers to impact hugely on the political direction our country takes.

The pessimistic and cynical view of elections and politics that the majority of young people display simply keeps them on the back foot instead of occupying the pound seat. Their wide scale involvement in the elections will cause political parties to reorder their priorities to better answer the needs of our youth.

Young people must do for young people what young people want to see done in all our towns and cities. Their active involvement is crucial to achieving better outcomes for young people. This task is too important to leave to others. They must do for themselves everything that political opportunity freely allows them to do in our country. There are no political obstacles in their path.

Young people all over the world are certainly experiencing the intensifying hardships of the global economic downturn. Our youth are also in the same boat. Pravin Gordhan emphasised the point that the young people of today in South Africa, in spite of everything, are worse off than their parents at the same stage of life. More than that, the position is worsening and becoming more tragic.

The economy is stuttering, unemployment is worsening and entrepreneurship, according to recent media reports, is down by 30%. Now is therefore not the time to shun the elections, rather this is the time to embrace them and bring new vigour into the political debate and even political outcomes. The time has come for a considerable changing of the baton in the relay of politics.

Life owes and offers our youth nothing but steep challenges. Young people must therefore recognise that cultivating any sense of dependency and entitlement will leave them frustrated and angry. Many will then resort to gratuitous violence and wilful destruction of infrastructure that will only worsen the situation for them.

Politics is inescapable. The remaking of politics is inevitable. The massive involvement of youth in the coming local government elections ought to be a no brainer. The political space is theirs to occupy to the extent that they want. They are voters who hold a clear majority and therefore they have the power to alter the political and economic landscape to better serve their desperate needs.

Congress of the People has been insisting for many months now on youth involvement in politics and we believe that the focus of the 2016 local government elections must indeed be on youth. For our part, we wish to open doors for them and provide opportunities for them to lead.

Issued by COPE

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