Mxit Poll Shows Unemployment Biggest Concern To South African Voters

Written by Kevin Mwanza

A mobile phone poll by South African instant messaging application Mxit showed that young voters were more concerned by the state of employment in the country as it head for the general elections next week on May 7.

The poll showed that nearly half of the 1,600 respondents on the instant messaging application said jobs were the biggest concern, while education was the second most popular issue with a quarter of the participants citing it.

The 7 May election is the first time that those born after the end of apartheid will be able to vote nationally.

Almost a quarter of all South Africans are jobless with the unemployment rate around 24 percent in 2014 up from 20 percent two decades ago, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations.

“South Africa is now third in the world, after Greece and Spain, when it comes to youth unemployment,” Narnia Bohler-Muller from the Human Social Research Council told BBC, adding that half of young people who ¬†graduate from school in South Africa are unemployed currently.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says that while local headlines are frequently dominated by stories of violent protests calling for provision of basic services and a lot of attention is paid to crime, corruption and the large numbers of South Africans with HIV, this shows that the most pressing daily concern for people on the ground is the economy.

The African National Congress, which has been in power since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, is expected to be re-elected  at the polls next week. But many South Africans accuse it of not doing enough to help poor people Рa feeling the main opposition Democratic Alliance and the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters are hoping to exploit

What matters most to South Africans?

  • Jobs – 46.8%
  • Education – 25.3%
  • Basic services (water, housing, electricity) – 11.4%
  • Crime & security – 7%
  • Leadership – 6.5%
  • Health – 3%

Source: BBC poll of Mxit app subscribers April 2014