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Peaceful elections show democracy is coming of age: Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says the peaceful nature of the country’s fifth local government elections is a sign that South Africa’s democracy is coming of age. 

He was speaking after casting his vote at his home village of Nkandla in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The President was accompanied by his wives Ma-Khumalo, Thobeka Madiba-Zuma and Bongi Ngema-Zuma. 

President Zuma arrived at Ntolwane Primary School just after ten in the morning. He was accompanied by some of his family members and found dozens of his fellow locals already standing in a queue waiting for their turn to cast their votes. 

The President quickly joined them in a long queue and started chatting with some of his neighbours. He met his elderly neighbour – 101 year old Sezeni Mbambo, who was happy to see him and very open about what party she is voting for. 

”At an old age he knows the right to vote. And I am joining the queue because I am a citizen first.” 

When the President finished voting after 11 am, there were hundreds of people outside the voting stations coming to cast their votes.

The two main parties in the area – the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) – had their tents erected outside the polling station. 

They were all singing and dancing to their different music as their leaders came in to vote. And President Zuma says the peaceful nature of the election here and elsewhere in the country, demonstrates the maturity of South Africa’s democracy. 

”To vote is important and I was impressed this morning that in the areas that are cold people were out voting. So I am very happy and if I take the campaigning itself it indicated the maturity of citizens and political parties they behaved very well and I am happy that South Africa is leading in the continent in terms of maturity of our democracy. I am pleased that our country demonstrates how democracy can be a good system in the running of the country.”

With some potential voters still undecided, the president urged them to follow in the footsteps of Ma-Mbambo and to understand the sacrifices made for South Africans to have right to vote.

“I am urging every South African to go out because sitting at home will not help. If you are a citizen and you want this country to develop, you have to use your vote to help the country move forward quicker. Of course you have the choice whatever choice you make but your vote is important. As a citizen, to sit back and be neutral it doesn’t give a good impression of you as a person. Do you think this country must move forward, do you want development? If yes, put your vote- it is important. So I will urge those who have not yet voted, to come in and participate -vote any party that you love.”

President Zuma also visited several voting stations around the area. He is expected to visit the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) main Election Result Centre in Pretoria on Saturday.

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