New administration must maintain contact with the public - Motlanthe

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pretoria - President Kgalema Motlanthe has called on the incoming administration to maintain contact with the people, after being sworn in on 6 May.

"To the public representatives to be sworn in on 6 May, I think this must be a lesson... if democracy is truly people centres ...these public representatives must maintain the dynamic contact with the constituency and the community on an ongoing basis," he said.

The President was speaking at the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) Official Announcement of the 2009 General Elections results on Saturday night.

President Motlanthe also called on all political leaders who were contesting the elections to "now stop their differences and focus on the task that has been entrusted in them by the voters."

He further told political parties present and the nation that he was "very happy" that the elections proceeded well.

"I am very happy that the election was declared free and fair by the IEC... I want to emphasise that point," he said.

The success of the 2009 polls was the "measure of the maturity of our democracy", he said.

Speaking at the same event, IEC Chairperson Brigalia Bam said the country's fourth democratic elections would have counted to nothing had it been not for South Africans who turned out in their millions to vote.

"We would like to thank all those who stood in the queues for long hours to cast their votes," Dr Bam said.

She said indications were that the IEC can convincingly declare the 2009 General Elections free and fair.

Dr Bam also announced a national turnout of 77.3 percent for this year's elections.

She also commended the political parties for the manner in which they have conducted themselves.

The IEC has always called on parties to exercise the spirit of cooperation to enable the country to move forward, she added.

Meanwhile, only 12 political parties have made it to the National Assembly, a drop by 4 from the current 16.

The African National Congress had, based on the high number of its votes, secured 264 seats in the national assembly and 126 on the national provincial list.

The Democratic Alliance received 67 seats in the National Assembly and 16 provincially.

New kid on the block Congress of the People took 30 seats in the larger legislature and 16 provincially.

The Inkatha Freedom Party received 18 seats in the national assembly and nine in the provincial legislature.

The United Democratic Movement, the Freedom Front Plus and the Independent Democrats each received four seats in the national assembly and three spots on the provincial list.

The Pan Africanists Congress of Azania received one seat in parliament and one on the provincial list.

The United Christian Democratic Party received two in the national house and one in the provincial one.

The African Christian Democratic Party received three seats in Parliament and three in the national provincial list.

The Azanian People's Organisation, the Azanian People's Convention and the Minority Front received one seat in each house.

Meanwhile, outside the Centre is the "Torch of Peace" which had been given to the IEC before the election's commencement by Justice Minister Enver Surty.

The torch was meant to symbolically light the proceedings with its flame of peace.

It has been given pride of place, just next to the entrance to be seen by those coming and going.

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