“I’ve actually never voted…”

ERNA CURRY spoke to Colin Young, a 27 year-old Capetonian, studying to be a history teacher at University of Cape Town.

Do you have any concerns about the citizen’s right to privacy?

Privacy is a big issue for me. It’s always been, so I am really concerned trends around surveillance and stuff. I like all my communications to be in trust with the other people. I don’t like the idea that what I say in a private conversation could be leaked somewhere, or could come back to haunt me in some way. I like my communications to remain private.

What do feel about the cost of communications in South Africa at the moment, like broadband and cellular communications?

I lived in South Korea for a year and I found that I was paying a lot less for much better service in a richer country. So I think that it’s a little absurd that in a country with so much poverty I am paying so much more for my airtime, so much more to access the internet. I think it closes off a lot of avenues for self- expression when the costs are so high.

What do you think of the government’s role in the cost of communication, and privacy?

On the one hand I wouldn’t want excessive state control of communications because it opens up the scope for surveillance, but I do feel that communications should come under public ownership. By leaving our communications up to people who are only interested in profit, we are going to keep having the problems we already have, especially when there are these big monopolies and they are hard to break up. I think at the very least the government should move towards trying to break up the big communications monopolies, without being excessively controlling over communications.

What are your views and feelings about elections in 2014 – after 20 years of democracy?

I studied politics in my undergrad degree and I’ve actually never voted because I have never felt that there is a party that completely suits my interests. I’m a little hopeful about EFF and WASP. I hope they do well. I don’t want them to win, but I hope that they can shift political discourse to the left. At the same time I have toyed with voting for EFF, but I don’t see any prominent women leaders. I haven’t seen them come out in support of gay rights. I hear they are pro-death penalty which is something I am really against. A big problem I have with the South African left is that a lot of them are economically left but still socially very conservative. So in all likelihood I am not voting again this year…well I might votes for WASP, we’ll see!