South Africans turned up in their millions to vote in the 2019 national elections on Wednesday. Young people spoke to Musa Ndlangamandla about what they are looking for from the next president.

Angel Buswana (22) Diepkloof, Soweto

“We want a president that is trust worthy and has impeccable integrity. He must not be involved in corruption of any sort so that he can lead by example. That is the number one concern. The president must also be a visionary who is in touch with the reality that we live in. We are tired of poverty in a country that has so many natural resources. We are tired of inequality and skewed economic distribution.”

Yusuf Patel (20) Chatsworth, Durban

“We had too many service delivery protests leading up to the elections and these are continuing. Clearly there is a lot of dissatisfaction among the people across the country. They feel that almost three decades of freedom has not yielded the desired results. We need a leader who will restore confidence in the country’s ability to deliver a quality of life.”

Samuel Gasa (17) KwaMashu, Durban

“Jobs. We want jobs. Everything else can follow. If I have a job. A decent job at that, I can take care of my family and beat poverty.”

Franco Hendricks (32) Germiston, Johannesburg

“I feel a sense of sadness when I realise that we are being surpassed by a country like Rwanda which is smaller than South Africa and has fewer resources. Moreover, Rwanda went through a very painful and turbulent time when over 800 000 people were brutally killed over a 100 day orgy of violence. 

But now they are among the most developed countries on the continent and are attracting a lot of serious investors from around the world. There is no magic wand to what the people of Rwanda have done. It all boils down to good leadership and focus. South Africa has a lot to learn from Rwanda.”

Palesa Mpofu (22) KaNyamazane, Nelspruit

“Corruption has killed our country. People who go into leadership positions seem to be only interested in enriching themselves and preparing for a cushy retirement. We need the next president to be very vigilant against corruption. He or she must crack the whip.”


Ntando Mahlanti (29) Robega, Rustenburg

“Of the many things that I would like the next president to focus on, it is fixing the mines. Mining holds the greatest promise for our country. But it is time we attend to issues of safety, beneficiation, and community development. Charity should begin at home. That means all the communities that have mines must benefit through schools, clinics and recreational facilities.”

Emerald van Zyl (18) Braamfontein, Johannesburg

“State owned enterprises that continue to drain government coffers whilst failing to fulfil their mandate should be overhauled. We need to move away from the tendency to deploy people to parastatals just because they belong to the political party. People must be appointed through merit.”

Noni Malaba (16) Protea Glen, Soweto

“We need a president who will not pay lip service to youth empowerment. We need a president who will re-introduce national service among school leavers so that young people can have a gap year to learn skills, acquire experience and prepare themselves for the job market.”


Gugulethu Ndlovu (19) Parktown, Johannesburg

“Bring back the death penalty and remove bail for people who have committed serious and violent crime. We have been lenient for too long when it comes to dealing with criminals and they are now threatening to take over the country. Investors will not come if we continue to treat criminals with kid gloves.”

Adriaan van Wyk (17) Carletonville, Johannesburg

“We need a president that will bridge the racial divide in the country. We seem to be fixated with the colour of people’s skin than the content of their character and abilities. Over the years I have also noticed a rise in reverse racism. We need to find harmony across all people if we are to succeed as a country. We must have a president that sees all people as South Africans, despite the colour of their skin.”