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‘Our people expect all parties to work together within the framework of our Constitution’ – President Cyril Ramaphosa

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By Johnathan Paoli

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his gratitude at the relatively smooth elections and said now was the time for parties to come together while speaking at the Results Operations Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa thanked the people of South Africa for giving life and meaning to the values and principles of the country’s constitutional democracy.

The President specifically stated that his address was delivered as the President of the Republic and not as leader of the African National Congress (ANC), amid talks that the ruling party may be forced to get into coalitions with other parties including the DA.

Earlier ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula also confirmed in a briefing that the party was open to all other parties and would update the nation on Tuesday as to any potential agreements.

Mbalula, however, warned that while the ANC was open to discussions with other parties, they would only be willing to talk to parties who were willing to talk to them and that there were certain principles that were non-negotiable, including the removal of Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa also indicated that the ANC was warming up to the prospect of co-governing or getting into bed with other political parties without naming any particular party.

He said this was the time to put South Africa first. The people of this country expect and deserve no less,” he said, while adding that the final announcement of the election results represented a victory for the country’s democracy and for the constitutional order.

Graphic: Andile Mbele

Ramaphosa praised the work done by the IEC and said another successful election has been conducted, one which was free, fair and relatively peaceful.

“The IEC has, despite many challenges, once more acquitted itself with excellence, professionalism and integrity,” he said.

He said the country’s citizens had exemplified their responsibility in participating in the democratic process, as well as contributing to the country’s future.

“Through their votes they have demonstrated, clearly and plainly, that our democracy is strong, it is robust and it endures,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the people have spoken and given effect to the clarion call that has resonated across the generations, that the country would be ruled by the will of the people.

Ramaphosa highlighted the fact that although throughout the election campaign, political parties and candidates have differed in terms of ideology and approach, there was a need for everyone to come together and cooperate in order to ensure a prosperous future for the country.

“Our people expect all parties to work together within the framework of our constitution and address whatever challenges we encounter peacefully and in accordance with the prescripts of our constitution and the rule of law,” Ramaphosa said.

He emphasised the need to consider the will of the people in determining the journey forward, and that no party should forget the source of their authority and electoral support.

“Whatever authority, whatever power, we are entrusted with must be exercised to advance the interests of the people,” the President said.

In conclusion, he thanked the hard work of the commission, media and others in facilitating the process and ensuring a relatively smooth voting throughout the country.

Picture: Eddie Mtsweni

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