Thursday, April 23, 2009



By The Editor,
The Times Newspaper
Apr 23, 2009

The government that is formed after this election will truly belong to all

SOUTH Africa has voted in what appears to be the biggest election since 1994. Across the country, voters waited in lengthy queues as the IEC struggled to cope with the numbers. But there were, to quote Paul Simon, “incidents and accidents, there were hints and allegations”.

Among the worst of the incidents was the discovery of piles of pre-marked ballot papers at a voting station in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal.

A presiding officer was arrested.

And a DA member was apparently given a pre- marked ballot paper at a voting station in Brits. Then there was the electoral officer shot in the leg and another who attacked himself with a pair of scissors.

But these incidents should not detract from the magnificent spectacle of our democracy in action.

After years of distant leadership from above, the people have risen up and reclaimed their place in the political life of our country.

The government that is formed after this election will truly belong to all. And, it will be held to account by a re-invigorated opposition and a Parliament that will be freed from some of the centralist shackles of the Thabo Mbeki era.

All of this bodes well for South Africa, which has spent recent years deeply divided and engaged in the worst kind of political intrigue.

What all those who go to the polls shared yesterday was a desire to return the state to the job of developing South Africa and growing our economy.

All parties stand united against abuses of the state’s security apparatus for narrow political ends.

This must translate into a strong vigilance by Parliament and an intolerance of political arrogance.