Tomorrow South Africans will be heading to the polls for the country’s 6th national democratic elections. It’s an important occasion and a great opportunity for citizens to exercise their power to choose.
At Lockstep, we believe individuals need to hold both themselves and their leaders accountable, and this starts by exercising our democratic right to vote.
By casting our ballots, we show our commitment to engaging with society, standing by our convictions and upholding our civic responsibility. The leadership that truly matters in this country is practised every day by each individual citizen and national elections are our opportunity to elect the leaders we hope to see in government.
Here are a few things to consider before and while you’re voting:
Always align your values: we vote for political parties as opposed to individuals. Over the last few months, each party has launched its own manifesto which states the core values and purpose of the political party. This informs how members of the party should act and how they intend to govern, should they win. As a leader, your values are your north star and should always align with your decisions, whether at the polling station or in your professional life. Examine the manifesto of each party you’re considering for your vote, so you make a choice based on your personal values.
Lead by listening: numerous debates, discussions, and arguments take place during elections and we should carefully listen to other people’s arguments or opinions. As an individual, sometimes getting your argument across can trump listening. Active listening ensures people feel heard, it ensures you hear other opinions and, through a constructive conversation can encourage others to cast a considered vote.
Avoid complacency: many people choose not to vote as they believe it makes little difference. However, as a leader, you need to guard against complacency not only for yourself but also for those around you. Exercising your right to vote regardless of an outcome, shows a belief in your power as a citizen to effect change and guards against complacency.
Lead by example: polling stations can put any good citizen’s character to the test with the long queues, potentially disorganised registration and large crowds. However, a good leader would see this as an opportunity to behave with decency. Greet the volunteers, allow the elderly or those with special needs to go before you and engage constructively with your fellow citizens.
While only 26.7 million South Africans of the eligible 35.9 million are registered to vote, we need to ensure we hold ourselves and other leaders accountable. Leaders need to be aware of their influence on others and there is no greater impact than being in the political sphere. The political parties we elect, and subsequently the leadership within, hold a vital opportunity to impact our society and we need to ensure we let our voices be heard – both on election day and afterwards.
Wishing you all a peaceful, engaging and uplifting election day.