Majority of young people lack faith in democracy


Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF) Commander-In-Chief Julius Malema leads from the frontline as the South African nation heeded to his call for a national shutdown. Photo by Jacques Nelles/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – OVER three quarters (79 percent) of South Africans fear political unrest could lead to violence in their country in the coming year.

This is the highest proportion among surveyed countries, jointly with Kenya, according to the Open Society Barometer, an annual global survey from Open Society Foundations.

Some 77 percent of South Africans also disagreed with the statement that the laws of their country keep people like them safe.

Elections are due next year in South Africa.

The survey established that globally, the so-called Generation Z and millennials hold the least faith in democracy of any age group, presenting a grave threat to its future.

Over a third (35 percent) of respondents in the 18-35 age group were supportive of a strong leader who does away with parliament and elections.

“Our findings are both sobering and alarming,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, president of the Open Society Foundations.

He said people around the world still want to believe in democracy.

“But generation-by-generation, that faith is fading as doubts grow about its ability to deliver concrete improvements to their lives. That has to change,” Malloch-Brown added.

Muthoni Wanyeki, executive director, Open Society-Africa, said, “The findings reinforce the resounding calls for inclusion and greater input from African countries in addressing the global challenges that most deeply affect people today.”

Wanyeki believes most notably, the recently reported decision by the Group of 20 (G20) to admit the African Union marks a significant milestone towards opening up global decision-making and supporting the people across the African continent, who are on the front lines of crises from climate change to debt and inequality.

– CAJ News

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