SOWETAN | Vote to make your voices heard

Voting is underway in South Africa.
Voting is underway in South Africa.
Image: Antoni Muchave

Today voters across the country head to the 22,000 polling stations to decide crucial elections on who should run the country for the next five years.

These elections coincide with the 30 years of democracy in SA – a landmark on its own.

Whatever outcome of the polls will have major implications for our politics in SA for the next few years and even longer.

This day in 1994 heralded celebrations and ushered in hope because for the first time all South Africans could vote in an election freely and as equals. This represented a huge milestone in the struggle against apartheid and brought about freedom we enjoy today.

Therefore, the significance of voting as a key value of our democracy cannot be overstated.  We urge you to make your voices heard by voting because it is a responsibility, duty and privilege we ought to cherish and not squander.

It means a lot more than just choosing a party to govern this country for the next five years. It is a civic duty to influence how those who are elected to the positions of power use it. It is also about paying a debt of gratitude to those who fought for our freedom but never lived to enjoy it today.

By voting it means you’re showing your goodwill to do your part to maintain the hard-won democracy. More importantly, voting is one of the most meaningful ways to bring about change in society as was the case in 1994.

Your vote will not only decide who becomes president but also influence how National Assembly is constituted and the National Council of Provinces, the second most powerful lawmaking house, is also shaped.  

If it does not influence our national politics, your ballot cast today can still decide the make-up of provincial legislatures which are equally important in holding elected leaders to account on how your tax money is used.

But it would be foolhardy to turn a blind eye to the growing trust deficit particularly among young voters with our politicians who they blame for failures such as high unemployment.

Still, we believe young people should not use this as a reason to stay away from polling stations today and wallow in despair. Your vote matters, so take it seriously.

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