Electoral Commission and Wits University Launch Youth Democracy Education and Registration Campaign

The Electoral Commission (IEC) and the University of Witwatersrand (Wits University) have launched a unique partnership with the youth at tertiary institutions to grow youth participation in electoral democracy and encouraging them to register to vote.

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. 

It 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 Electoral Commission 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.

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

SRC Deputy President Lesego Louw, on behalf of the “Witsies”, as the student population is popularly known, said:

“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.”

“It is the youth of 1976 who spearheaded the Soweto uprising and validated the importance of and the right to education. It is the youth of ‘Fees Must Fall’ and ‘Asinamali’ who asserted the importance of access to higher education and signified the role of young women leaders. It is you, the youth in front of me, who, in ten years’ time, in 2032, will embark on the generational mission to combat rampant youth unemployment, champion against gender-based violence, the marginalisation of the LBTQ+ community, and normalise youth participation in democracy. We are an undeniable force of power that is to be reckoned with,” said Louw.

Ensuring free, fair and credible elections 

For media queries: Please contact Kate Bapela on 082 600 6386

For media interviews: Please email requests to [email protected]

You can also find the IEC on -