South Africa can once again be proud of itself as we successfully conclude our fifth democratic elections – the first since the passing of our inspirational and much-loved former president, Nelson Mandela. The elections presented a unique opportunity for all South African citizens to play their part in the democratic process.
By using their hard fought-for right to vote, they renewed their commitment to our country’s future development. Brand South Africa is grateful to each citizen for using their vote to make a difference, and for being part of this important and valued democratic process.
Over 18-million people, representing 73.42% of those eligible to vote in the country, participated in the election, which was closely watched around the globe. Post-1994 South Africa has always inspired positive change throughout the world, and is of particular interest to those countries looking to achieve their own democratic freedom.
IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula said: “As we celebrate two decades of democracy and conclude the 2014 elections, we can affirm democracy is alive and well and thriving in our land.” This positive sentiment was echoed by IEC Deputy Chairperson Terry Tselane, who said the elections had demonstrated the same spirit the country had in 1994, something the nation should be proud of.
Both the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer missions congratulated South Africa on a free, fair, transparent and credible election.
Building a nation
Now that the election is over and the results are known, the work of building a strong, united and competitive nation continues.
The journey must ensure a country that is able to deliver on the needs and aspirations of its own citizens, is able to position itself in the global marketplace as an investment destination of choice, and remains a democratic example for others to follow.
We should all, as active citizens in South Africa, now look to work together with government and the private sector to play our part in contributing to positive change that will mean a better life for all.
The Play Your Part campaign was originally created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in the country, lifting the spirit of the nation as a whole by inspiring all South Africans to make a contribution in some way and to bring positive change to our society and to the lives of others.
Roadmap for the future
Ultimately, if we are to live up to the aspirations and values laid out by those who fought for the freedom we enjoy today, then we all need to become more involved and start making a difference, playing our part in the next phase of South Africa’s growth and development. By doing so, we will become a nation of people who care deeply not just their country, but also care for one another as individuals and for the environment in which we all live.
The National Development Plan is South Africa’s widely accepted roadmap to securing the country’s economic future. It requires every citizen and stakeholder, from every sector of society, who has an interest in this exciting new future, to contribute towards building a prosperous nation.
As the National Development Plan is now in its implementation phase, the time has never been better to have a shared strategic framework to nurture real growth and development. The National Development Plan provides a dynamic and resilient roadmap, capable of not only unlocking a brighter economic future for all citizens, but also helping to practically eliminate poverty and reduce inequality.
The National Development Plan sets out ambitious goals, together with a practical framework, to address South Africa’s most pressing challenges of poverty reduction, job creation, economic growth and transformation. As the implementation process of the NDP gets fully under way, the role of the private sector and civil society in partnering with the government to achieve these goals will become increasingly more critical.
By uniting all South Africans under the overarching National Development Plan framework, the combined energies of all the country’s stakeholders and citizens can help to grow a genuinely inclusive economy. We can work together to create a more globally competitive environment, build the necessary human capital and capabilities required for this new and shared economic future, and meaningfully solve the complex problems that we are facing today and in the future.
Every citizen from every walk of life can make a difference by playing their part in whatever small way, and contribute to the building of a strong, vibrant and competitive South Africa for the future. Having made our votes count, let us now make our individual efforts count in building a great nation together.
- Matola is the chief executive of Brand South Africa
- For more information on Play Your Part, see www.playyourpart.co.za
- To read more about South Africa’s National Development Plan, see www.southafrica.info