Peaceful conduct a sign of democratic consolidation in South Africa

The relatively peaceful local government elections today show that ordinary South Africans have accepted key democratic ideals, writes Political analyst Ongama Mtimka.

It is a good sign for democratic consolidation when the citizens of a country increasingly rely on democratic processes to achieve their political objectives.

The stakes were so high in many parts of the country that more violent clashes and acts of intimidation could be realistically expected. However, there seems to have been little to no inter-party incidents, save for the yet to be investigated shootings on election day and the intraparty violence, and relatively few acts of intimidation in the build up to elections.

As the party system appears to be slowly transforming from a dominant party to a multiparty system, the challenge will remain for South Africans to become more and more tolerant.

Commercial interests which are closely intertwined with outcomes of political processes have potential to undermine this progression towards peaceful competition among factions of political parties. This will likely spill over to inter-party violence and acts of intimidation of commercial interests are not guarded through transformation in party funding, if the allegations of business influence in killings are anything to go by.

But so far, the conduct of South Africans during elections is commendable. It should be expected also in terms of accepting election outcomes and general outcomes of political processes.


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