Media Statements

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’ Statement Encouraging Youth to Register and Vote in the Coming Local Government Elections

South Africa is this year commemorating 45 years since the 16 June 1976 Soweto student uprising that saw young people protest against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction by the unjust apartheid regime. They valiantly laid their lives on the line when they battled for freedom and the right to an equal education, which many young people currently enjoy. The chair of the IMC on Elections, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma indicated that we in the month of June take pride and honour in the contribution of the youth in the struggle for the liberation and democracy in our country.

The commemoration of this year’s youth month happens when the country is remembering the legacy and the contribution to a vibrant democracy by struggle icon, uMama Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. It is befitting that the National Youth Day and Youth Month will be celebrated under the theme “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society”.

Our country’s past is filled with young people’s sacrifices and commitments, this underscoring the importance and the responsibility bestowed on today’s youth to safeguard our democracy. The youth of 2021 must awaken the spirit of the youth from 1976 by working together towards their economic emancipation, particularly in these challenging times as we rise to the challenge of leading our post COVID-19 recovery and embrace opportunities created by the “new normal”.

The upcoming Local Government Elections to be held on 27 October 2021 present an opportunity for young people to partake in the safeguarding and strengthening of democracy thereby building an inclusive economy, creating employment and transforming our society. The youth constitute a sizeble voting community and with these numbers, the youth can play a critical role in addressing socio-economic challenges such as high unemployment, corruption and inequality.

Following the announcement of the date of the Local Government Elections by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is now finalising key dates and finer planning details for the elections, with the first aspect being voter registration.

The Commission will soon embark on a national voter registration campaign to facilitate and encourage participation in the elections by as many eligible voters as possible. In order to register as a voter, you must be at least 16 years old, a South African citizen and in possession of a valid South African ID document – either a green barcoded ID book or a smartcard ID.

The IEC will embark on registration initiatives at schools, tertiary education campuses and other opportunities, culminating in a national voter registration weekend on 17 – 18 July 2021 during which all 23 146 voting stations will open between 8am and 5pm to allow new voters to register and existing voters to change, update and check their registration details. This weekend will be the only general voter registration opportunity for voters to register and check their details at their voting stations. On-going voter registration will continue during working hours at local IEC offices until the proclamation of the elections.

Young people who are eligible to vote, especially first time voters, are encouraged to ensure that they are ready to be registered to vote by obtaining Identity Documents where necessary, availing themselves to be registered and check their details during the voter registration weekend.

Peter Mokaba, affectionately known as the Roaring Lion of the North, and his generation of radical and militant young people declared “Nothing about us, without us”, this declaration continues to inform the youth development agenda in our country. The youth must be responsible for their own advancement and must take their destiny in their hands. Government continues to broaden the frontiers of opportunities for our young people through programmes like the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention which creates new pathways into employment for our young people; as well as employment creating opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme, Community Works Programme and the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.

We call on young people to go out in their numbers to register to vote in the coming local government elections. By registering to vote, young people will be continuing their role as activists and taking serious the democracy for which many before them paid the ultimate price by sacrificing their lives for our freedom. By registering to vote and strengthening our democracy, we will all be participating in the upliftment of the communities as it is only through collaboration that will safeguard democracy; build a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous South Africa.


Lungi Mtshali


Issued by the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs