Next year's general election will be a litmus test for our nascent democracy. Every South African will have an opportunity to shape the political landscape by voting for leaders of their choice.
Your vote is the key to the better life you have dreamed of.
For the first time it appears the ANC is not guaranteed an outright majority win. Every vote will be heavily contested, so all the political parties should be allowed space to campaign freely.
Democracy does not silence views through intimidation and violence. Disrupting meetings is anti-democracy. Just because one differs from other political parties does not give one the right to shout them down.
Violence never wins debates. It only leads to more violence and loss of life. This is bad for economic growth and job creation.
Political uncertainty will scare away foreign investors. If we want to stage a successful 2010 World Cup, political stability is vital.
This starts with our conduct before and after the 2009 polls. Freedom demands responsibility and maturity from us all. Let's create space for sincere political dialogue to flourish. There is no room for knives and guns.
Tolerate dissenting views. Our duty is more than just voting. We must decide whether we want to build or to destroy the country. Free and fair elections are the foundation of a constitutional democracy. It is our collective duty to defend it.
Lucas Ntyintyane, Cresta