The 2021 Local Government Elections have proved that multi-party politics is flourishing in South Africa and that everyone has an equal chance and opportunity to run for public office, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.

The sixth Local Government Election was contested by a record 325 political parties and nearly 95 000 candidates, of whom over 1 500 were independent candidates.

The President said that this enriches the country in many ways, advances openness and transparency and affirms the principle that leaders must be chosen by the people and be accountable to the people.

The statesman was speaking at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Pretoria on Thursday, during the release of the 2021 Local Government Election results.

“Tonight we mark another milestone in the advancement of our democracy. In the run-up to Election Day we have seen images of parties and candidates everywhere, on billboards, on street posters and on social media, all making a case for why they should get our vote. This affirms that we are a diverse and tolerant society,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa went on to thank the 12 million South Africans who cast their ballots in this election.

“By performing this important civic duty you have contributed to strengthening and consolidating democracy. I want to congratulate all South Africans for holding an election that was peaceful, free and fair,” he said.

He said the people have spoken and the elected councillors now need to get down to work.

The President said that over the past few weeks, officials have all spent time with South Africans from all walks of life and they expressed their frustration with service delivery while others spoke about the good work that municipalities, supported by dedicated councillors are doing in their communities.

“Listening to them I was reminded how important it is that those in positions of responsibility enjoy the confidence of the South African people. They want their lives improved. They want better services.

“They want their representatives to be responsive and accountable. They want to live in a better South Africa with equal opportunity, where their rights are realised, and where they are treated with dignity and respect,” the President said.

While calling on leaders to put their differences aside and work together, the President said that local government must be a force for good, for development and for progress.

“If we are to make this a new and better era, we, as leaders, must put aside our differences and work together in a spirit of partnership and common purpose.

“We need to strengthen the trust between citizens and elected representatives through competence, integrity, performance and delivery. Public representatives need to be more visible and active in our communities,” he said.

The President called on elected leaders to listen to the communities they serve and focus on implementation and make the people partners in development.

Thank you for a successful election

President Ramaphosa extended his gratitude to all those people who have contributed to the success of the 2021 Local Government Elections.

“I want to thank the commissioners, leadership and staff of the Independent Electoral Commission, who have once again conducted themselves with professionalism and impartiality. I want to thank the South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force for ensuring the safety of voters and the integrity of the election process. I want to thank the staff of the Department of Home Affairs for processing voters and enabling them to have the correct documentation on voting day,” he said.

Extending his gratitude to the media, the President said the media did a great job by keeping South Africans informed throughout the duration of these elections.

He further thanked all the political parties and candidates who stood in this election for their conduct, their discipline and their commitment to the people.

Through their efforts, he said they have proven that our democracy is enduring and strong.

“We owe it to the millions of young South Africans who dream of a better South Africa, to do no less than our very best. We owe it to the millions of South Africans who voted in this election to bring about the change they are asking for.

President Ramaphosa encouraged all leaders to turn the promises that were made on the campaign trail into reality.

“Let us unite for the common purpose of recovery and rebuilding. Let us work as one for a South Africa of equality, freedom and shared prosperity. Let us keep moving forward,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency