After wrestling back the confidence of South Africans and managing to win Wednesday’s national and provincial elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed that now the ANC has a greater appreciation of former president Nelson Mandela’s sentiments: “Let freedom reign, the sun never sets on so glorious a human achievement as democracy.”
He praised the people who went to make their marks on Wednesday.
“Our people are indeed the true custodians of our country’s democracy and they have chosen the people to champion their dreams and aspirations. These elections were a resounding expression of the will of the people of South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.
The ruling party retained the majority with 230 seats in the National Assembly for the 26th year in a row and garnered the majority in eight of the nine provinces.
Ramaphosa went on to thank political leaders and urge them to accept the outcomes of the elections.
His call came after Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) Chairperson Glen Mashinini official announced the 2019 elections.
The elections were marred by allegations of irregularities – from numerous smaller parties who had banded together and raised concerns over the credibility of the polls – during and after the voting process.
Ramaphosa thanked South Africans who braved the elements and cast their vote on Wednesday.
“Many of our people braved the rain and the cold to cast their vote and in doing so they reaffirmed the vibrancy of our democracy among diverse opinions from various parties,” said Ramaphosa.
IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo admitted that these elections were the “most complex highly demanding and testing than ever before”.
“We have come through these elections as a commission and as a country” said Mamabolo whose organisation faced challenges never experienced by the commission in their five prior elections – from Mashinini being accused of “demonstrating bias” by accompanying Ramaphosa to Hitekani Primary School in Soweto to being accused of failing to assertively address the allegations of voters attempting to vote more than once.
“Indeed each and every election is under extreme scrutiny by not only the foreign observers but the media and internal observers at large. The road has been long and cumbersome but we proud to say we have managed to deliver free and fair elections,” said Mamabolo.
He also accused the media of focusing “on the bad aspects, where our people [elections officials] may have failed, adding that “there is another story of officials who have assisted more than 18 million people to vote”.