Make an X for dignity and delivery

2011-05-14 11:05

Long before the first ballot is cast, ­voters have given those who will ­govern them a very clear mandate.

They want to be treated with dignity and they want politicians to start ­delivering on their promises.

Voters have not waited for the voting booth to send out a loud and clear message that they will no longer ­tolerate politicians who feel entitled to visit them once every five years and make ­promises they have no intention of keeping.

Political parties that have bragged about their achievements ahead of these elections now have a duty to prove to their detractors that they can replicate their success to those communities that have felt left out of the development trajectory.

If Soweto can be turned into a model of township development, so should Seshego.

If the Cape Town city centre can become crime-free, so should Hanover Park.

In very unambiguous terms, voters have said that they know who they want as their ­representatives – individuals who will account to them and not the party that put them on the ­ballot paper.

From Musina to Khayelitsha, voters have said in loud voices that it is time for dignity and delivery.

In exercising their right, voters also have a duty to ensure that they deliver candidates in their ­various municipalities that speak to this national call that cuts across race and class.

Wednesday is merely the start of the duty of the governed to be vigilant over those who govern them.

It helps nobody if voters fail to cause a stink and tolerate subhuman conditions while waiting for a political party to discover what the community wishes to firmly place on the agenda.

It also means that political principals must keep an eye on those who will use the party name to govern communities.

Never again must ­communities and leaders of political parties be justified in saying that they did not know that a community they professed to care about had been subjected to the type of indignity and ­service delivery failure exemplified by the open-air toilets.

Wednesday is therefore as much a responsibility of the voters as it is about those who want their votes.

The campaigning has been robust.

At times it has threatened to degenerate into a farce but, overall, parties have remained on the right side of the law. For that, we commend them.

After midnight on Tuesday, the ball returns to the voters’ court.

So, whichever party or parties emerge ­victorious after Wednesday, and whether or not it is a party you voted for, the game is on.

Your ­duty, be it as an ordinary citizen or as a councillor, will have started.

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