GEORGE NEWS - Winning or losing an election is less important than building a country. With these words Courtney Sampson, provincial spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), started his media briefing to journalists and editors of Group Editors last Friday, two months prior to the upcoming national and provincial elections on 8 May.
"I say this because I see and experience, I watch the television, and I see how politicians think nothing of being ungracious to one another and other people," said Sampson. "It seems they don't have a problem in demoralising society, their country, creating cynicism in order to score political points."
Sampson said we must remember that at the end of the day, while we are busy with elections, we are still building a country. "We must still create something that is beautiful for our children and for us. A place of safety and security, where people can trust one another and live together in peace and in harmony."
Sampson referred to South Africa's young democracy, saying there are still a lot of people walking around with issues. He said the most important discourse of the 1994 elections was reconciliation, especially between races.
"That is how it should be and we must continue to strive after that. The problem is that while it is possible to reconcile races over black and white, what you cannot reconcile is wealth and poverty. It can only be shared. The discourse on poverty is becoming the dominant discourse now, and the discourse on reconciliation is becoming subservient."
With these thoughts Sampson attempted to give background to the current political climate in which journalists work and report - especially with the upcoming elections.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that our electoral democracy remains safe and sound and secure. That when people go to the polls, the process of voting, electioneering and elections is one of integrity, which is free and fair. I think it is important for us to understand where it is that we come from."
A total of 597 political parties registered at the IEC for the upcoming national and provincial elections, of which 303 parties registered for the national election. In the Western Cape 106 parties registered for the provincial elections.
- Monday 18 March: Certification and publication of the voters' roll by making it available.
- Monday 25 March: Cut-off date for parties to comply in respect of candidates lists.
- Saturday 27 April: Casting of special votes at foreign missions (07:00 to 19:00).
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