Who young South Africans are likely to vote for in August

A survey run in June 2016 shows who young South Africans are likely to vote for in the local government elections on 3 August.

The survey also indicated which issues young South Africans feel are the most important for the government to address.

Ipsos conducted 3,786 face-to-face interviews in the homes and home languages of randomly chosen respondents, representative of South Africans 15 years and older, between March and May.

Almost half of respondents (47%) selected the ANC as their party of choice – but 8% of young adults indicated they would not vote, while a further 6% are not registered at all.

According to Ipsos, 11% who either refused to answer this question or indicated that they do not (yet) know which party to vote for, can make this picture look very different on election day.

When asked about intention to vote, almost a quarter (24%) said that they do not really want to vote or definitely do not want to vote, 71% said that they definitely wanted to vote or wanted to vote, while 5% indicated that they did not know.

The age group who most want to vote in the upcoming local government elections are those older than 50: 78% of them indicated they either definitely want to vote or want to vote on 3 August.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has admitted that the youth remains under-represented in the voter’s roll.

Out of the 25 million voters on the voter’s roll, youth only make up to less than 10 million, yet, according to Statistics  South Africa, those who are below the age of 35 years constitute about 66% of the total population of 54 million.


Fewer than three in ten (28%) South Africans adults believe that the country is going in the right direction.

Young South Africans share this opinion: only 26% of 15-17 year olds and 30% of 18-24 year olds feel believe the country is going in the right direction.

Looking to the future however, the optimism of youth shines through. Almost two-thirds (65%) of those 15 to 17 years old and 61% of 18-24 year olds say that they are very or fairly confident of a happy future for all races in the country.

The corresponding figure for all South African adults is 58%, Ipsos said.

Respondents were asked which issues were most important for the government to address – firstly as a list of all the issues that are important, and then to name the most important issue for them.

Unemployment and job creation was listed as the most important issue by 37% of 15-17 year olds and 49% of 18 – 24 year olds.

While education is mentioned by almost half (47%) of 15 – 17 year olds, it becomes slightly less of an issue (40%) for 18 – 24 year olds, and corruption and development increase in importance.

Most important issues that young people want the government to address:


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Who young South Africans are likely to vote for in August