BY TINTSWALO BALOYI in Johannesburg
THE upcoming local government elections are an opportunity for South Africans to hold accountable representatives that reneged on promises they made in the last poll, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
He was writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, exactly a week before the much-anticipated polls, projected to be the most fiercely contested since the country attained democracy in 1994.
The president said the elections were an opportunity for people to make their voices heard about the most pressing issues affecting their daily lives.
“They (elections) are also an opportunity to hold elected representatives accountable for the promises they have made to communities,” Ramaphosa stated.
He added, “We do not need candidates who make promises to communities at election time, but vanish soon thereafter.”
Ramaphosa said during the election campaigns, he nonetheless heard from communities about councillors who were dedicated and available, mostly delivering 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.”
He called for greater openness and engagement with communities by the elected officials.
“It is our hope that those who are elected this year take the matter of accountability seriously,” the president stated.
His governing African National Congress (ANC) faces perennial rivals, among them the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the November 1 poll.
Voters will be choosing from among over 94 000 candidates, including representatives from political parties and independents.
Ramaphosa noted some parties and candidates had not previously participated in local government elections.
“This is a sign of the health of our democracy,” he said.
The president said 27 years after its founding, South Africa’s democracy had matured, so too should its politics.
“We may have differing political allegiances, but we ultimately want to see a South Africa that is better for ourselves and for our children,” he said. – CAJ News