Mashatile expresses confidence in successful May 29 elections

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has voiced his confidence in the upcoming general elections, expressing trust in the ANC to ensure a successful democratic process.

Mashatile was delivering a distinguished special public lecture at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday in commemoration of 30 years of democracy in South Africa.

Addressing the audience, Mashatile highlighted the significance of the general elections on May 29.

He emphasised the importance of participation from various political parties and reiterated the ANC’s commitment to fostering a flourishing democracy where all citizens can freely engage in the electoral process.

Sectors must safeguard democracy

He also expressed confidence in a successful election and urged different sectors like universities, political parties, labour unions, civil society, faith-based organisations, and student organisations to safeguard democracy for present and future generations.

“Given that many have registered political parties and aspire to serve in parliament and the legislatures, I believe many will agree that this election is arguably the most important.

“We are not surprised that there are so many political parties.

“The party that I have the honour to serve indeed fought for the idea that we have a flourishing democracy wherein everyone, without fear, should be allowed to participate in the elections in our country.

“I am confident that we will have a successful election and that the people of South Africa will continue to place their hopes and inspiration in the organisation and movement of their choice — the African National Congress.”

Mashatile underscored the achievements made over the past three decades, citing investments in crucial sectors such as transport infrastructure, agriculture, financial services, and the automotive industry.

Progress in infrastructure development

He particularly praised the progress made in infrastructure development, including projects worth about R21.4-billion aimed at stimulating economic growth and recovery.

He explained: “As it stands, as a people, we must be proud of some of the achievements made over the past 30 years.

“We know for a fact that to grow, we need to invest in infrastructure; hence, we have projects worth about R21.4-billion that have been completed.

“These projects are part of the infrastructure investment plan, which articulates the country’s need for infrastructure-led economic growth and recovery.”

Young people’s involvement

He stressed the need for greater involvement of young people and women in developmental projects, highlighting their importance in shaping the future of the nation.

“I would like to see more young people and women business-led being involved in these projects because young people are the future of our country and women carry the hardest burden of communities.

“In my early years as a leader in government, I had the opportunity to be part of the team that delivered the Gautrain.

“I am grateful to those who gave me the opportunity and proud to have played a role in this development.

“Having been afforded the opportunity to serve at an early age, I too have come to believe in the potential of our youth.

“I know you, too, can be great. I know you have Solomon Mahlangu’s spirit of tenacity. However, we are aware of the challenges that the youth face in our country.

“Hence, over the years, we have been investing in initiatives for the development of our youth and our future.”

Mashatile outlined six critical areas, which included: 

  • Public employment programmes: Aimed at creating 2.5-million work opportunities in public, small businesses, and social sectors;
  • Industrial strategy: Focused on driving growth and creating opportunities for youth and the unemployed;
  • Affordability: Addressing the high cost of living by improving access to basic needs such as food, housing, and healthcare;
  • Investment in people: Meeting basic needs, improving education, healthcare, and service delivery;
  • Defending democracy: Promoting and defending the rights of all citizens and advancing freedom; and
  • Building a capable state: Strengthening governance at all levels and professionalising the public sector.

He also highlighted initiatives to tackle pressing issues, such as the water crisis, with President Cyril Ramaphosa appointing him to lead a task team to address the challenges.

He emphasised collaboration between the government and stakeholders to find lasting solutions.

In conclusion, Mashatile reiterated his commitment to building a South Africa that belongs to all its citizens, irrespective of race or background.

“I urge all of us to remain inspired by the words of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu: ‘Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue to fight’.

“We must continue to carry these words as a nation beyond the 30 years of freedom and democracy, towards the 100 years of the Freedom Charter in 2055, wherein we would have achieved a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”

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