By Nomonde Mnukwa
Voice of the people will once again rise in 2024 elections.
Democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the people, but making it work requires commitment, along with insightful and informed voters. In 2024, the voice of the people will once again rise as we vote in the national and provincial elections.
Our democratic breakthrough in 1994 allowed South Africans to dream of a new reality where we could all work together to ensure a better tomorrow. Life before 1994 was a far cry from what we know today, and dreams of unity and national triumph like we recently witnessed with the Springboks were impossible.
In fact, for the longest time the Springboks who are now a source of great pride and national unity was the symbol of our ugly past. It was a team of the white minority and it embodied apartheid segregation. During the historic 1995 Rugby World Cup in SA a team that was divided became a source of national inspiration for the first time.
As a nation, we must use our triumph in France as a rallying point to once again strengthen our democracy and resolve. As a relatively young democracy, it is fair to say that we have done well.
Time after time, our nation has faced adversity, yet we have overcome through resilience and determination. The recently released Census 2022 figures tell the story of a nation that has made massive strides. They show the emergence of an inclusive SA that has worked to redress the imbalances of our past and improved life for the majority.
Things we now take for granted such as access to electricity and piped water were not provided. Prior to 1994, they were denied access to any meaningful economic participation. Today we have an inclusive economy that creates jobs, and has ensured that more people than before are participating in it to support their families.
Just 30 years ago, the majority of people did not have the basic right to choose their own government or leaders. As we now look ahead to 30 years of freedom next year, it is an opportune time to take stock of our achievements as well as what still needs to be done.
In 1994, many doubted that our nation would last, and doomsayers predicted democracy would fail. That they have been proved wrong is a testament to our resilience over the past 29 years. We have laid the foundation for a better tomorrow.
However, no matter the work of government, our collective future has always resided in the hands of the people. While addressing a rally in 1990, former president Nelson Mandela said: “Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country. Their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.”
Democracy has always been about the people, and citizens are at the heart of making it stronger. In November, all eligible South Africans have an opportunity to register to vote in next year's elections.
The Electoral Commissionof SA will open nearly 23,296 voting stations for the weekend of November 18 and 19 to enable the registration of new voters, and verification of existing voters’ details. Government calls on all eligible voters to use this opportunity and reminds everyone that democracy is made stronger by the people.
Voting is an integral component in a democracy and gives us as citizens an opportunity to be part of decision-making in matters pertaining to the state of SA. History has shown that when citizens do not vote, democracy flounders and others end up making decisions for you.
As citizens we should never take voting for granted as it represents our voices, and symbolises the renewal of democracy. However, voting is only one part of a democracy, and throughout society, there are ways we can make a difference.
The future we all so desperately want for our children and ourselves rests in our collective hands. It is time that we revisit and re-imagine the future of our country. Let us work together and build on the foundations that have been pains takingly built since 1994
Mnukwa is Acting Government Spokesperson