27/04/2012 DA Leader, Helen Zille shares a moment with youth that were born in 1994 prior to cutting their Freedom Day celebrations cake at Saulridge Secondary School in Atteridgeville, Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Western Cape premier Helen Zille has warned people not to misuse their vote, saying people in Gauteng elected the ANC and faced e-tolling, while Cape people had voted DA and did not.

Speaking as the leader of the DA at Freedom Day celebrations in Saulsville, Pretoria, Zille said 18 was an important age.

“That is the year you get the biggest right of all – to vote.”

She encouraged young people not to misuse their vote.

“There is a lot of toyi-toying in the country, protests are everywhere but that doesn’t change the government,” she said.

“People had voted for the ANC in Gauteng and were rewarded with e-tolls.

“They voted DA in the Western Cape and have no e-tolls to deal with,” she said.

Voting gave the voter power, and she asked people not to give that power away by voting for people who abused it.

Zille praised former president Nelson Mandela for his vision for a democratic country and said his ideals should talk to the country on Freedom Day.

“He never wanted a one-party state,” said Zille.

Among those present were 18 teenagers to whom Zille presented a giant birthday cake – one side of it iced with the SA flag and the other adorned with pictures, including one of Mandela.

The teenagers, or “born-frees”, told the gathering and Zille of their hopes for a better country, one in which equality in status and opportunity would prevail.

Reciting a poem, one of them said: “I see a country free of poverty, where we, the future of the country, will have control of our lives”.

Another said she was the president of the future, while others said their nightmares were about a country ruled by people who did not care.

The youths’ slogan for the day was: “We own the future”.

Speakers said the country at 18 was like a young adult.

Atteridgeville constituency chairman Sej Motau said: “In three years this country will become a full adult with responsibilities, and at that time we will stop referring to the past and look towards the future.”

Youth leader Makashule Gana encouraged party members to focus on the future.

He said no one had power over the past.

“If we don’t own our future our democracy will fail,” he said. - Weekend Argus

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