Amid the euphoria and agony prevailing countrywide, we South Africans must sit back, reflect and be proud that we have a Constitution that guarantees universal suffrage and a government not disposed to disenfranching its populace. By Tebogo Khaas, secretary of ANC Ward 117 (Johannesburg).
Like it or not, the ANC-led government has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that not only are elections held as and when required by law but it also abides by the outcome of the elections even when these results do not yield to its desires.
Save for some unpalatable but isolated incidents during campaigning which resulted in the tragic loss of life, mainly in KwaZulu-Natal, there was never a sense of foreboding engulfing us.
For me, a key moment over the election period occurred when ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe – and later Jackson Mthembu – moved quickly to magnanimously concede the hotly-contested Nelson Mandela Bay metro to their opposition DA despite the fact that the ANC may have had reason to balk at the outcome.
Sober post-election commentary and analysis by leaders, particularly Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile, have gone a long way to prepare acceptance of the results, especially in instances where things didn’t go as per their wishes.
I draw solace and encouragement from the above as I psyche myself for the possibility of living in a city controlled by a party I do not support – however remote the chance.
In a manner we have come to expect of it; our judiciary, through the ConCourt, again showed wisdom and ensured that the pressing issues related to the voters’ roll were dispensed with expeditiously, thus paving the way for elections to proceed unhampered.
Finally, much as one shouldn’t praise fish for swimming, it is however fitting to acknowledge and commend the sterling work of the IEC which was under unprecedented and immense pressure to deliver free, fair and credible elections – what with lingering allegations and suspicions of potential bias levelled against its chairperson owing to his proximity to the president.
This is one of the many instances when I have truly been proud to be South African.
As Justice Malala wrote in the Guardian newspaper in the UK last Friday, “South Africa has broken the post-colonial narrative.” Indeed we have.
What we have witnessed in the last week is what would surely please our founding fathers although some may probably still be locked in an emergency meeting in their after-life trying to digest the electoral tsunami that has just hit the ANC.
It is easy to take this for granted, but what better testament to a vibrant, maturing democracy in action can one ask for? DM
Tebogo Khaas is secretary of ANC Ward 117 (Johannesburg). He writes in his personal capacity.
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