Let’s make a fresh start

Vuk'uzenzele - - From The Union Buildings -

Ev­ery­one is in­spired by a new year. Our bat­ter­ies have been recharged over the fes­tive sea­son – and it’s now time to start afresh; to push for­ward and do bet­ter than we did last year.

I hope you are well rested, ready to roll up your sleeves and play your part in mov­ing South Africa for­ward in your own big ways and small, wher­ever you are in the coun­try.

This year, 2019, is an ex­cit­ing year for us as a coun­try be­cause it is the year that we all get to ex­er­cise our hard­earned right to make our voices heard by choos­ing the party that will lead our na­tion and that will im­prove the lives of our peo­ple and take our na­tion for­ward.

This will hap­pen dur­ing the sixth gen­eral elec­tion in May.

Im­por­tantly, the elec­tion will fol­low our cel­e­bra­tion – in Free­dom Month, April – of 25 years of free­dom and democ­racy in a coun­try that is vastly dif­fer­ent, and bet­ter so, from the South Africa we were back in 1994.

By cast­ing your vote, you will not only strengthen the coun­try’s democ­racy, but also be­come ac­tive cit­i­zens by elect­ing lead­ers of your choice who will help im­prove the qual­ity of life of our peo­ple.

But, be­fore we heed this call and make our way to the vot­ing sta­tions to vote, we need to regis­ter to vote.

The last voter regis­tra­tion week­end is set to take place on Satur­day, 26 and Sun­day, 27 Jan­uary.

The In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) will have 22 932 vot­ing sta­tions which will open from 08:00 to 17:00. This makes it pos­si­ble for you to take the first step of ex­er­cis­ing your right to vote, by reg­is­ter­ing to vote. Dur­ing that week­end, new vot­ers will re­ceive an op­por­tu­nity to regis­ter and ex­ist­ing vot­ers can up­date and check their regis­tra­tion de­tails.

There are cur­rently 26.1 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers on the na­tional com­mon vot­ers’ roll. The IEC hopes to add at least one mil­lion new vot­ers to the vot­ers’ roll for the 2019 elec­tions.

We must help the IEC achieve this goal. I call on all young peo­ple who are 18 years and older to get in­volved in build­ing our coun­try. One way to do this is to regis­ter to vote and come May 2019, go and make your mark on the bal­lot pa­per. The fu­ture of our coun­try is in the hands of our young peo­ple. Take a stand.

The right to vote must never be taken for granted. Many peo­ple lost their lives and made enor­mous sac­ri­fices in order for us to live freely and have a say in who leads our na­tion.

Elec­tions that are reg­u­lar, free, fair and vi­brant are in­te­gral to our ma­tur­ing as a na­tion and a democ­racy. We must re­mem­ber that elec­tions are not pri­mar­ily about the for­tunes of par­ties.

Elec­tions are, first and fore­most, about im­prov­ing the lives of South Africans. It al­lows vot­ers and those seek­ing elec­tion to make in­formed po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions.

We must use our vote to re­in­force the right of all par­ties and can­di­dates to cam­paign freely in all con­stituen­cies.

We must use our vote to en­cour­age more South Africans to be­come po­lit­i­cally ac­tive and play their role as ac­tive cit­i­zens.

In this year that we com­mem­o­rate 25 years of democ­racy, let us use this process to re­in­force democ­racy.

Af­ter cen­turies of con­flict, we are now able to set­tle our dif­fer­ences at the bal­lot box.

We call on all those who have some­thing to say, to regis­ter to vote.

We call on all those who re­ject racism, sex­ism and all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion, to regis­ter to vote.

We call on those who want bet­ter streets, bet­ter pub­lic trans­port, bet­ter mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices and bet­ter com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture, to regis­ter to vote.

We call on all those who seek a bet­ter life for all, to regis­ter to vote.

It is up to all of us to take this coun­try for­ward. It is in our hands.

I want to wish you all a happy, pros­per­ous and fruit­ful 2019!

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