IEC elec­tion cam­paign tar­gets youth

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

THE ELEC­TORAL Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day launched the 2019 Na­tional and Pro­vin­cial Elec­tions with an in­no­va­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign aimed at en­cour­ag­ing South Africa’s youth to reg­is­ter and vote.

The cam­paign was un­veiled at an event at Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Midrand, Jo­han­nes­burg, and was at­tended by lead­ers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, govern­ment of­fi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of civil so­ci­ety, mem­bers of the di­plo­matic corps, the me­dia and other stake­hold­ers.

The cam­paign, which launched across tele­vi­sion, ra­dio, dig­i­tal and out­door chan­nels through­out the coun­try yes­ter­day, is in­tended to grab the at­ten­tion of young and first-time voters.

De­spite rep­re­sent­ing over 50 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, South Africans aged un­der 30 have the low­est lev­els of voter reg­is­tra­tion.

“The young peo­ple of South Africa com­prise an in­creas­ingly pow­er­ful and cru­cial seg­ment of our econ­omy, our cul­ture, our democ­racy and our coun­try. But un­til they reg­is­ter and vote they are un­able exercise their right to par­tic­i­pate in choos­ing the fu­ture of our coun­try,” Elec­toral Com­mis­sion chair­per­son, Glen Mashinini, said.

The cam­paign fea­tures young South Africans from all walks of life ex­press­ing their rea­sons why it is im­por­tant to vote in the up­com­ing elec­tions un­der a newly-cre­ated word: Xse.

“We zoned in on a phrase that is uniquely South African. It’s cool and can be used eas­ily by any­one across the cul­ture lines. It’s a call to ac­tion phrase, one that prompts you to take notice and take ac­tion,” ex­plained Chief Elec­toral Of­fi­cer, Sy Mam­abolo.

“Xse is a multi-cul­tur­ally un­der­stood col­lo­quial South African term that can be used in many sit­u­a­tions, es­pe­cially when one wants to be heard. Elec­tions al­low for an in­di­vid­ual’s voice to be heard hence we made it for the in­di­vid­ual to own. More­over, it’s a clever play on the ‘X’ that voters put on the bal­lot pa­per and which has fea­tured in pre­vi­ous elec­tion cam­paigns.

“We hope Xse be­comes part of the lex­i­con of South African youth dur­ing these elec­tions.”

As part of the launch, the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion Con­tact Cen­tre has also been re-ac­ti­vated and is op­er­a­tional week­days from 8am to 5pm. It pro­vides as­sis­tance to call­ers in all of­fi­cial lan­guages on 0800 11 8000 and is also avail­able to re­spond to queries sub­mit­ted via email and the IEC’S Twit­ter ac­count and Face­book page.

The fo­cus of the cam­paign is to pro­mote reg­is­tra­tion dur­ing the up­com­ing fi­nal voter reg­is­tra­tion week­end be­ing held on Jan­uary 26 and 27, 2019 when the coun­try’s 22 927 voting sta­tions will open from 8am to 5pm to al­low new voters to reg­is­ter and ex­ist­ing voters to up­date and check their reg­is­tra­tion de­tails.

A key as­pect of the cam­paign will also be to en­cour­age al­ready reg­is­tered voters to also use the op­por­tu­nity of the reg­is­tra­tion week­end or the online fa­cil­ity to check and up­date their ad­dress de­tails.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to an­nounce the ex­act date of the elec­tions.

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