South Africa’s strong democracy

By Andrea Naicker

On 29 May 2024, the voices of the people reigned supreme once more and their collective choice has paved the way for our transition from the 6th to 7th administration. In an era of global voter apathy, it is heartening that 16 291 516 South Africans voted in the year that we commemorate 30 years of freedom.

All those who stood patiently waiting to vote reaffirmed that our democratic right to free and fair elections should never be taken for granted as the freedoms we celebrate today, were born out of tremendous struggle and sacrifice. Prior to our democratic breakthrough in 1994 the majority of South Africans were denied many basic rights and had no say in the governance of our nation. 

Over the past thirty years of democracy and freedom we have come a long way in building a non-racial, non-sexist, inclusive nation where all citizens can exercise their democratic rights freely. Worldwide, regular, free and credible elections are viewed as the hallmark of any thriving democracy.

As citizens took to the polls they were spoiled for choice as 70 political parties contested the 2024 National and Provincial elections, a stark comparison from our very first democratic elections in 1994 when only 19 political parties registered to contend for elections.

This year, for the very first time, independent candidates were also allowed to contest in National and Provincial elections. In addition, citizens were given a new ballot, to vote for their region, enabling greater representation of the people in National and Provincial legislature. 

The announcement of the final election results by the IEC on 2 June 2024, after a rigorous verification, capturing and auditing process ushered in the next chapter of our democracy. For the first time in the history of our country, discussions are currently underway for different political parties to work in unison, as one national government, to serve the goodwill and interests of all citizens. 

A political, judicial and parliamentary process will now unfold which will culminate in the first sitting of the National Assembly. At its first sitting, members of the National Assembly will elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and also the President of the Republic.

The details for the Presidential Inauguration will also be revealed in due course and this will usher in the beginning of a new term of government. During the inauguration, the president will take an oath of office to affirm his faithful service to the Republic and obedience to the constitution. The president will detail his vision and policies in government’s five year strategic vision for the next administration.

Although the electoral process has now ended our civic responsibility continues, and citizens are encouraged to work with the public representatives to develop their communities and to build a better tomorrow for all. 

Let us therefore continue to work together as we have done since 1994. The new, 7th, administration calls on every member of government, parliament and all citizens to work cooperatively to build a better nation.