Pretoria – Government is pleased with voting in the 2016 Municipal Elections, which proceeded largely well.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director General Donald Liphoko said government is satisfied that elections were peaceful.
“We are satisfied that the elections were peaceful and took place in an atmosphere of political tolerance,” said Liphoko.
South Africans braved the cold and windy day, characterised by snow in some parts, to cast their votes in the country’s fifth Municipal Elections on Wednesday.
“The demonstration of active citizenship and patriotism displayed by countless South Africans who voted today is an indication of a strengthened democracy and their actions are truly inspirational,” said Liphoko.
Government said the large voter turnout is testament to the strength of South Africa’s democracy. It commended the public for conducting themselves in a dignified manner as they waited to cast their ballots.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen, who is also the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Elections, congratulated the Electoral Commission (IEC) for delivering yet another successful election.
“Today, the profound impact of what freedom means to ordinary South Africans reverberated in the millions of people from all walks of life, who cast their vote for democracy”, said Minister Van Rooyen.
The Minister’s comments come as results in the elections started trickling in, with the initial announcement being made shortly after 9pm.
South Africa’s youth, who form part of the over 26 million people registered to vote, were also congratulated by government.
“Government applauds the youth, especially the first time voters, for their commitment towards advancing our democracy.”
Law enforcement agencies have also been thanked for their work, which ensured that elections were held in an environment that is safe and secure.
“Their presence on the ground ensured stability in areas that had been identified as hotspots. They worked in tandem with government departments and agencies across the country to ensure the high state of preparedness and the smooth flow of the processes witnessed today,” said the Minister.
The media played a pivotal role in educating the public and providing vital voter information around the clock.
“We commend and appreciate both the domestic and international media for the balanced coverage of the elections. Much of the coverage reflected the energy and enthusiasm of South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994,” said Minister Van Rooyen.
However, government said it is saddened by the loss of lives reported by the IEC earlier today. The deaths occurred in Ingwe Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal and Struisbaai in the Western Cape.
“Government is saddened by the untimely deaths of our beloved countrymen, who were also eager to cast their ballot. We convey our deepest condolences and sympathy to their families and loved ones for their loss,” said Minister Van Rooyen.
Government has encouraged all citizens to work together with those who will are elected to public office to strengthen local government.