President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to encourage registered voters to exercise their civic duty by casting their votes in the upcoming local government elections, which he says will have a direct impact on their daily lives.
Polls will open for the Local Government Elections in the country this week, starting with special votes scheduled to be cast on Saturday and Sunday and culminate in Election Day on 1 November.
The President highlighted that local government elections and candidates ultimately chosen directly impacts citizens and their quality of life.
“These elections are about the material issues that matter most to people, such as access to water and electricity, properly functioning hospitals and clinics, safety and security guaranteed by an efficient police service, well-maintained roads and well-resourced public schools.
“For this reason, it is paramount that South Africans should approach their civic duty to vote in local government elections with the same enthusiasm with which they vote in national and provincial elections,” he said in the newsletter on Monday.
The impact of these elections he said will be felt even more as the country deals with a worsened economic situation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This makes it paramount to elect capable local leaders who understand the needs of the community they seek to serve.
“[We] need people at the helm who are not only capable, experienced and qualified, but who are also honest and trustworthy. We need local councillors who have a clear plan to promote investment and business opportunities in their area. They need to understand that municipal services need to be delivered reliably and affordably both to improve the lives of residents and to ensure that businesses can operate and thrive.”
President Ramaphosa reiterated his call, made last month, for “greater openness and engagement” between local government and the people it serves and for councillors to be accountable and accessible.
“I have heard about councillors who are dedicated and available, and who deliver on their promises. However, I have also heard about people’s frustration with councillors who are not accessible and who do not attend to their grievances.
“Without accountability on the part of elected representatives and public officials, whether at national, provincial or local government, trust between the public and government is easily broken and difficult to regain…it is our hope that those who are elected this year take the matter of accountability seriously,” he said.
The President urged communities to put political differences aside once the elections are over and work with those who are officially elected.
“Ultimately any election is about trust. Before placing their trust in a candidate of choice, I urge all South Africans who will be voting…to commit to working with whoever is ultimately elected, regardless of which political party they belong to. We should not say we have no interest in working with or assisting the newly elected official because they were not our favoured candidate,” he said. – SAnews.