IEC, Wits launch voter education campaign

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A unique partnership to grow youth participation in electoral democracy as well as to encourage them to register to vote has been launched by the Electoral Commission (IEC) and the University of Witwatersrand.

The voter education campaign was launched on the steps of the Wits Great Hall at a ceremony attended by Wits students, Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo, Wits Dean of Students Jerome September, and the leadership of the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC).

The campaign is designed to encourage students to be active, engaged and responsible citizens of South Africa’s democracy, as well as make it easier for university students to go online and register to vote.

Its objectives also include:

  • Enabling an understanding and exercising of youth’s civic and democratic rights and responsibilities.
  •  Growing an empowered electorate within the student population.
  • Cultivating a culture of democracy and active citizenry in the student community.
  • Increasing voter registration in the student population.
  • Enhanced voter participation in both SRC elections and national, provincial and local elections.

Mamabolo said the IEC was proud to launch the important partnership with Wits students during Human Rights month 2022.

“The primary aim of this campaign is to cultivate and instil a culture of electoral democracy and active citizenry among students in both the public and private institutions of higher learning and to enhance voter registration and voter participation in both SRC elections and in national, provincial and local government elections.

“It is our firm belief that engaging students’ views about democracy and elections through voter education based dialogue will enhance voter participation among this particular group of the electorate population,” Mamabolo said on Tuesday.

“This partnership between the IEC and Wits University is important because universities are spaces that shape society and shapes the future,” said September.

September added that by partnering with the IEC, the university is coming together in building “our nation and ensuring that young people who will be leaders in society going forward actively participate, register to vote in a way that shapes our future and builds our democracy.”

“Voting for me is the loudest decision I make in silence. It is young people and young people-led organisations that will lead to change in South Africa and the Africa continent. It is young people who have led us and will continue to lead us through generational revolutions as agent of progress and bridges to the communities,” said SRC Deputy President Lesego Louw. –