President Jacob Zuma says South Africa has shown to the world that it is a thriving democracy where differences of political opinion and diverse political preferences are allowed to flourish.
“We have concluded yet another round of competently run and successful elections.
“This is a testament to the progress we are making as a people and also to the maturity of our democracy,” said President Zuma on Saturday evening.
The President was speaking at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC), in Pretoria, during the release of the 2016 Local Government Election results.
He said these elections were hotly contested, with competing parties passionately arguing their points of view in attempts to win the favour of the electorate.
“That is how it should be in a democracy. We congratulate all the parties that have done well in these elections, including those who have gained new municipalities to run. We wish them all the best,” President Zuma said.
The President said political parties waged their campaigns under different political banners, however, at the end “we are one people”.
In this regard, the President said the elected representatives must govern on behalf of and in the best interests of all South Africans.
“They must build an accessible, caring and efficient local government system throughout the country, regardless of which party controls the municipality,” he said.
The President said this election has given all political parties and candidates an opportunity to interact with South Africans across the country.
“The concerns that have been raised by the electorate during the elections must be attended to by all so that our people can experience the fruits of freedom and democracy.
“We urge our people to remain engaged by participating in ward communities and other structures and be part of the running of their municipalities.”
The President said in this way there will be no gap between the people and the municipal governments. “That is how strong democracies are built, when the people participate.
“We are proud of our people. We are proud of how South Africans manage their renewal of mandates and also the change of governments. It is done peacefully through the ballot box.
“Our democracy is maturing and we congratulate our people for their participation in the consolidation of democracy,” President Zuma said.
The real victors
President Zuma congratulated the people of South Africa, saying “they are the real victors. Their will must prevail”.
President Zuma further thanked the political parties, independent candidates and their supporters for contributing to a largely peaceful, free and fair election.
He also extended a word of gratitude to the millions of South Africans who went out to vote, some under difficult weather conditions.
He also thanked the commissioners and staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
“The commissioners and IEC staff worked long hours, and delivered an efficient and fair election yet again.
“They have once again affirmed the faith and confidence our people have in the IEC and the integrity of our elections,” President Zuma said.
He urged everyone to work together to achieve a fair and prosperous country.
“I am convinced that if we work together and harder, we will achieve our dream of building a just, fair, equal and prosperous South Africa. It is possible.
“Let us get back to work, and build our country together.”
Source: Business Tech