‘You have the numbers to make real change’, DA leader John Steenhuisen tells SA’s youth

16 June 2021 - 16:48
DA leader John Steenhuisen says as long as democracy works, all the power lies with the youth.
DA leader John Steenhuisen says as long as democracy works, all the power lies with the youth.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

DA leader John Steenhuisen says today’s youth face massive challenges and needs to use the power of their vote to effect real change.

Speaking during a virtual Youth Day commemoration on Wednesday, the party attributed the country’s woes to the ruling ANC, corruption and politicians.

“The young people of SA may be the generation facing the biggest challenges. You’re also the generation with the power to do something about it. You have the numbers. You can make a real difference.

“You need to realise the power you hold in this relationship between government and the people. As long as democracy works, all the power lies with you. What you choose to do with this power will make or break the future of this country,” said Steenhuisen.

He used the event to lament the country’s all-time high unemployment rate (64%), saying the situation had become more dire.

“Unemployment and poverty levels are at a record high. Crime, gangs and drugs are claiming more youth than ever before. While life gets harder for South Africans, we see politicians living it up, way beyond even their fat salaries, the same politicians who tell you there is no money for tertiary education, tell you there is no more money to put more cops on the streets, to protect your community,” said Steenhuisen. 

It was expected the youth would become “cynical” when electing a government because politicians made promises they failed to fulfil, he said.

A way to rectify this was at the polls in the local government elections scheduled for October 27, said Steenhuisen.

“If you are basing your expectations on the promises of politicians alone, you are using the wrong criteria. Anybody can make promises and pledges, and over the next four months leading to the elections, you’re going to hear everyone doing this because that’s the easy part. The hard part is delivering on your word. If you are choosing a government, its track record matters far more than its promises.”

DA youth leader Luyolo Mphithi said the ANC led-government had left the youth to wander.

“This is the time we’re going to talk about how three in four young people are sitting at home with nothing to do. This is the time we need to start having serious conversations about how young people are seeing flames under this ANC government. It’s basically ‘dala [create, make a plan] what you must’ at this point if you’re a young person,” Mphithi said.

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