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South Africa: African Leaders Urged to Listen to Citizens
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 14, 2016

Speaking on Thursday at the11th Annual Symposium of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), he said democracy thrives when there is space for dissent and when people can express their differences.
He said the manner in which that dissent is expressed should not undermine the principles on which the democratic order is built.
“As our democracies develop right across the continent, we need to pay particular attention to the management of disaffection and dissent.
“The right to peaceful protest, to freedom of association, to freedom of expression are fundamental pillars of a democratic society,” Deputy President Ramaphosa said.
Regarding the issue of university students who have been calling for free higher education, he said the right to protest should be exercised in a manner that does not infringe on the rights and dignity of other people.
Violence and the destruction of property is against the democratic principles in which the country’s Constitution is founded on.
“The manner in which a society resolves these conflicts, how it manages these tensions, how it navigates the line between dissent and disorder, says much about the depth and resilience of its democracy.
“In this instance, on the challenges we are facing at our universities, I am certain that an acceptable, sustainable solution will be found and that, in the process, South Africa's democratic values and practices will be further enhanced,” Deputy President Ramaphosa said.
There is great potential in Africa to use social media as new platforms for engagement.
“There is great potential to use new technologies to improve the mechanics of the democratic process, make it more transparent and make it more accessible.
“These technologies, if effectively deployed, could revolutionise the relationship between citizens and their elected representatives,” he said.
EISA Executive Director Denis Kadima said his organisation has been supporting democratic elections and democratic governance throughout the continent.
EISA’s 20th anniversary symposium was held to review the current state of democracy in Africa by taking stock of progress and challenges confronting the continent in its trajectory of democratic consolidation.
The symposium was held under the theme: "Current democratic realities in Africa: Where are we headed beyond the vote?” 

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