Elections a chance for folks to make voices heard

President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to method their civic obligation to vote in native authorities elections with the identical enthusiasm they’d with nationwide elections because it was a chance to make their voices heard and to carry elected representatives accountable.

FILE: A voter inserting their poll paper inside a poll field after casting their vote on the Rantailane Secondary Faculty, in Ga-Rankuwa on 19 Could 2021. Image: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness Information


Expensive Fellow South African,

In precisely one week from in the present day, South Africans will go to the polls to elect their native representatives.

These elections are a chance for folks to make their voices heard about essentially the most urgent points affecting their each day lives. They’re additionally a chance to carry elected representatives accountable for the guarantees they’ve made to communities.

These elections are concerning the materials points that matter most to folks, akin to entry to water and electrical energy, correctly functioning hospitals and clinics, security and safety assured by an environment friendly police service, well-maintained roads and well-resourced public faculties.

These are the ‘bread and butter points’ of which Amilcar Cabral wrote in 1965 when he mentioned that folks don’t combat for concepts, however “to win materials advantages, to reside higher and in peace, to see their lives go ahead, and to ensure the way forward for their kids.”

For that reason, it’s paramount that South Africans ought to method their civic obligation to vote in native authorities elections with the identical enthusiasm with which they vote in nationwide and provincial elections.

Voters might be selecting from amongst over 94,000 candidates, together with these from political events and independents. Lots of the election posters on avenue poles and billboards are for events and candidates that haven’t beforehand participated in native authorities elections. This can be a signal of the well being of our democracy.

We’re at a particularly tough time within the lifetime of our nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly worsened our financial state of affairs, and if we’re to get the nation again on observe, we’d like folks on the helm who are usually not solely succesful, skilled and certified, however who’re additionally trustworthy and reliable.

We want native councillors who’ve a transparent plan to advertise funding and enterprise alternatives of their space. They should perceive that municipal companies must be delivered reliably and affordably each to enhance the lives of residents and to make sure that companies can function and thrive.

Councillors should prioritise the empowerment of younger folks and girls. If mandatory, they need to change native by-laws and rules in order that they’ll arrange companies simply, entry municipal procurement alternatives and obtain coaching and different assist.

We don’t want candidates who make guarantees to communities at election time, however vanish quickly thereafter.

Wherever I’ve travelled within the nation over the previous few weeks, I’ve heard about councillors who’re devoted and accessible, and who ship on their guarantees. Nonetheless, I’ve additionally heard about folks’s frustration with councillors who are usually not accessible and who don’t attend to their grievances.

With out accountability on the a part of elected representatives and public officers, whether or not at nationwide, provincial or native authorities, belief between the general public and authorities is well damaged and tough to regain.

We want better openness and engagement with communities by the elected officers, and it’s our hope that those that are elected this 12 months take the matter of accountability significantly.

In the end any election is about belief.

Residents have an expectation that the guarantees which can be made to them are fulfilled. By equal measure, elected officers count on that communities ought to work with them to resolve the problems in a selected ward. It’s a matter of mutual duty as a result of each councilors and communities share a typical aspiration to enhance the standard of lifetime of all.

Earlier than inserting their belief in a candidate of alternative, I urge all South Africans who might be voting subsequent Monday to decide to working with whoever is finally elected, no matter which political get together they belong to. We should always not say we have now no real interest in working with or aiding the newly elected official as a result of they weren’t our favoured candidate.

We are able to solely attain the objectives we have now set ourselves, of communities which can be cleaner, safer and better-run, the place service supply is of a very good customary and advances human dignity, if we work collectively, together with throughout the political divide.

Twenty-seven years after its founding, ours is a democracy that has matured. So too ought to our politics. We might have differing political allegiances, however we finally need to see a South Africa that’s higher for ourselves and for our youngsters.

Allow us to vote responsibly. Allow us to vote correctly. Allow us to do not forget that it is just those that have the most effective pursuits of the South African folks at coronary heart who ought to get our vote.

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