National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, says participating in elections is an act of defence for democracy.

Millions of South Africans have taken to the polls today to make their mark in the 2021 Local Government Elections.

Tsenoli said not participating in elections is to allow the “wrong practices to take root in our absence (sic)”.

“As angry and disappointed we may be in certain respects, we must nevertheless exercise our right to vote; and to visibly, practically show our preference for democratic decision-making… To defend democracy, deepen it and literally advance it is an act of deep revolutionary duty for all of us,” he said on Monday.

He said democratic processes like voting are a manifestation of the Constitution, which require that new leaders to be elected every five years.

“When we each go to vote, whatever our status, we reinforce the principle of equality in key local decision making responsibility,” Tsenoli said.

The Deputy Speaker praised the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for its work in carrying out the elections, including special votes that were cast over the weekend.

“We know already the IEC officials have visited voters in their homes, who could not travel to voting stations. We commend them for this crucial task in support of democracy. This body is one of the structures created to support democracy as required by the Constitution.

“When we also turn out in our numbers to deepen this culture [of voting], we consolidate a key responsibility to realise our vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.”

Tsenoli said councillors and municipal officials must consult the communities they serve “regularly on matters” when local government elections have come and gone.

“[W]hen that happens properly [and] regularly, we ensure that both the representative and participatory requirements of the Constitution are implemented…” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency