President Jacob Zuma with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)
Giyani - President Jacob Zuma has called on all South Africans to exercise their democratic right by going out in their numbers to vote.
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"Our message to you is local government is everybody’s business. Let us work together to build our communities," Zuma said on Wednesday.
Zuma was speaking at the Freedom Day celebrations at the Giyani Stadium in Limpopo. He addressed thousands gathered at the stadium where he told them that people still had faith in government.
He said that this was evident in the large voter registration turnout.
"Our citizens' faith in our constitutional democracy has never been stronger. Over the two voter registration weekends hosted by the Independent Electoral Commission, over 6.6 million citizens visited voting stations, with 1.3 million of them being new registrations. Almost 80% of these were young people under the age of 30," said Zuma.
"Local government is everybody’s business. We urge all South Africans to come out in their numbers to vote on the 3rd of August 2016."
He said, while the country celebrated achievements in the local government sphere over the last 15 years, they also had a firm eye on the future.
He said the UN estimated that more than 70% of the South African population would live in urban areas by 2030, with this figure increasing to almost 80% by 2050.
"The Integrated Urban Development Framework [IUDF], approved by Cabinet yesterday offers a New Deal for South Africa’s towns and cities. The IUDF espouses the vision of creating ‘liveable, safe, resource-efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life'."
Zuma said the country could not afford to have people spending hours each day transporting themselves to and from work.
"We cannot afford to have urban areas that are unsafe and hostile to our citizens. We cannot afford to live in urban spaces that are not economically inclusive," said Zuma.