PMB tops for political tolerance

2014-05-09 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG can proudly call itself one of the most politically tolerant cities in the country after Wednesday’s election.

Msunduzi electoral officer (MEO) Nick Davids said yesterday that levels of political tolerance were unprecedented on voting day and this will stand out for him as the hallmark of this year’s election.

Davids said this was a clear indication that South Africa was maturing as a democracy. He reserved his highest praise for the political parties, saying that they set the mark in their cooperation. “They played a major role and were on the ball when something needed attention.”

Davids said for the first time this year there was no such thing as “no-go areas”, and no deep suspicions about each action of the other party.

He said that in previous elections a lot of time was spent sorting out a whole range of issues. He said this meant that the number of objections raised was lower this year and these were being dealt with together with the political party liaison representatives.

Davids said there was a much bigger voter turn-out in the city and a large number of out-of-towners chose to vote in the city. These caused some minor logistical problems, but they were better prepared for visiting voters as the same thing happened in the 2009 election.

He thanked both the police and his electoral staff for being a major part of the smooth running of Wednesday’s elections. “We certainly are getting better with each election.”

Davids has been involved with organising elections in the city since the first democratic election in 1994.

He was appointed MEO just before the 2009 election and together with local government elections in 2011 this is the third election in the city that he has overseen.

He is ably assisted by his head of administration, Olga Taljaard, who has also been involved in Pietermaritzburg’s elections since 1994.

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