Government has reiterated its call to all registered South Africans to head to the polls in their numbers on Monday, 1 November, to elect councillors for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country’s nine provinces.
Monday marks the sixth municipal elections held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, as municipal elections are held every five years.
Speaking to SAnews, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director General, Phumla Williams, described elections as a way of celebrating the democracy that was attained in 1994 and it remains a journey that keeps being enriched by South Africa’s non-racial society exercising their democratic right to choose who should lead them.
The Director-General said that government is pleased that through the IEC it has been able to consistently make sure that it doesn’t fail the people of South Africa, by ensuring that every five years the public gets an opportunity to reflect on the leaders that were in place and what they want going forward.
“Voting is our democratic right. Our forefathers never enjoyed the right to choose who they should appoint or elect as their leader. We urge all South Africans to go out in their numbers and exercise this democratic right.
“To those who feel despondent, we say to you voting matters. Do not sit at home and deprive yourself the right to be a citizen of this country. A citizen who can bring about change as elections are about change. Elections are about somebody reflecting whether the previous leadership represented them. This is your right to correct and elect leadership that you think will do the right thing,” Williams said.
Government has also encouraged first time voters to go out in their numbers and vote as the future of the country lies in their hands.
Williams told SAnews that it was important for a first time voter to ensure that their voice was heard during these local government elections.
“The future belongs to the young and for me as a young person you still have a whole decade ahead of you and you want to inherit the government that you envisage. It is important as a young person to start taking an interest in who is going to govern this country, the country that you want to live in, the country that you want to have a future in,” she said.
She added that young people owe it to those who died to achieve this democracy to flock to the voting stations on Monday.
“The future is in your hands. You have to participate. You can’t just be on the fence because this is your future,” she told SAnews.
Security measures in place
The Director-General said that South Africans are guaranteed a safe and peaceful election as government has security measures put in place.
“On Monday our security cluster led by Minister of Defence, Thandi Modise, held a media briefing and assured South Africans that police and soldiers will be deployed in making sure that a conducive environment exists come Election Day.
“You will find the voting stations properly secured and all we need is you to present yourself and exercise your right to vote in an environment that the security cluster has assured South Africans that they will protect,” Williams said.
Collect your ID campaign
In a bid to accommodate those who would like to collect their identity documents (IDs) to enable them to vote on Monday, Williams said that Home Affairs is running the “collect your ID campaign”.
She said that the department has even extended its operating hours in order to also enable even those who work to collect their IDs.
“A number of South Africans may have either lost their ID or misplaced it. The Department of Home Affairs has extended operating hours so that whoever lost their ID is still able to go and collect.
“The other important matter is that a number of people have applied for their IDs but they have not collected them. This campaign by Home Affairs is to also appeal to those who may have registered or applied but have not collected their ID. The Home Affairs offices are open and we are urging that they go and collect,” she said.
With the elections taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, government has urged all citizens to exercise the health protocols that are currently in place, such as the wearing of a face mask, practicing social distancing and sanitising their hands.
While citizens across the country will be heading to their respective voting stations, Williams said that she will also be casting her vote at Athlone Girls High School.
“I am going to vote and exercise my right. I am urging others to follow suite,” she said. – SAnews.
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