President praises voters for massive election turn out

Monday, April 27, 2009

Durban - President Kgalema Motlanthe has praised South Africans, young and old, for turning up in droves to vote in the country's fourth General Elections.

Speaking at the main Freedom Day celebrations in Durban on Monday, the President said South Africans were keen to embrace the reality that only collective effort from all sections of society can enabled the country to deal with unique challenges in a way that yields results.

He congratulated the country's youth for voting in high numbers as they continue to build democracy and to bring passion and energy into the making and shaping of this country.

"Grandmothers and grandfathers once more made their mark and took their place as those who had seen dark days but had fought long and hard and won their dignity and now live in the cool climate of freedom," he said.

President Motlanthe added that South Africa's remarkable maturity was reflected in a largely free and fair election, with very few and insignificant incidents of violence.

Last week, South Africa took to the polls in what has been described as a free and fair election.

The African National Congress won the majority of the votes, securing 264 seats in the Nationally Assembly, the Democratic Alliance received 67 seats, the Congress of the People received 30 seats, while the Inkatha Freedom party received 18.

The Independent Democrats four seats, the United Democratic Movement received two and the Pan Africanist Congress, the United Christian Democratic Party and the Minority party each received one seat.

Until now, four successful democratic elections have been held with its successful democratic election reflecting the further deepening of democratic culture in our country.

The President has also thanked the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for their outstanding performance in the face of a challenging task.

"The fact that we had a demanding but successful Election Day, which was followed by a normal working day without any interruption to our daily life, shows that our electoral system is intact and improving," President Motlanthe said.

The IEC had displayed the ability to organise the election in a way that could not be questioned by any one and the President has described that achievement as an indication that South Africa as a country had the potential to unite all it people behind common national interests.

The President said nevertheless, the voting patterns in this year's national poll disturbingly reflected a divided past, showing that more work still needs to be done to de-racialise society in all its essentials.

"Our history is etched with the footprints of those who planted the seeds of freedom of those who laid the foundation for equality.

"It is our generation that has succeeded in giving the dream of freedom a concrete reality," the President said.

The President urged South Africans to use Freedom Day to celebrate democracy as well as continue striving for creating condition for better life for all people.