SA 'has greater respect for democracy'

2011-05-17 15:00
President Jacob Zuma speaks to journalists during a visit the national IEC results centre in Pretoria on the eve of the local government elections. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma speaks to journalists during a visit the national IEC results centre in Pretoria on the eve of the local government elections. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Pretoria - A decrease in tension and violence ahead of the local government elections on Wednesday showed that there was a greater understanding of democracy among South Africans, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

He was speaking during a visit to the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) results centre in Pretoria.

Zuma said this "deepening of democratic understanding" showed that political parties were free to campaign wherever they wanted to without being intimidated.


"For almost the first time, no party has complained that there was a part [of the country] they could not go to... there's no longer no-go areas.

"Parties have learnt to respect other parties...," he said, adding that there was an understanding about what elections mean.

Zuma warned against an over-critical attitude towards protest actions, which showed that people now understood how to exercise their rights.

"I think South Africans must be very happy, not critical. There's greater understanding about what voting is all about," he said.


Zuma said it was a good thing that people were able to make demands during voting time.

People want to know what's in it for them, should they vote.

He said people were no longer voting just for the sake of voting, but because they wanted benefits in return.

Overall, Zuma said he was happy with the IEC's progress and he complimented state-of-the-art technology in use at the results centre.

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