Zille, De Lille call for voter tolerance

2008-12-30 00:00

Cape Town — South Africans will, in the election year ahead, have the chance to prove that they will not go down the “disastrous” road that led to Zimbabwe’s destruction, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said yesterday.

In her New Year message, Zille said 2009 will be crucial for the development of democracy.

“We are on the threshold of an election that offers us the chance to show we are maturing as a democracy. All citizens have a responsibility to register, to vote, and to ensure that the election is marked by tolerance and respect for the right to hold an opposing point of view,” Zille said.

Zille said Zimbabwe lost its way when its voters entrenched a one-party dominant state.

“The consequences of power abuse, corruption and criminalisation of government were inevitable — the result of too much power entrenched in too few hands. We must also make the effort to understand the real choices we face for our shared future, and avoid the racial slurs that often obscure the issues and seek to take us back to a bitter, divided past,” she said.

In her message, Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille called for an honest reflection on how far SA has come in 15 years.

“This year has been a momentous one, especially in terms of the political landscape. But the changes at a party political level mean nothing if the lives of ordinary South Africans are not fundamentally transformed,” she said.

De Lille urged parties to ensure they and their supporters exercise tolerance and conduct a campaign free of intimidation and violence.

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