International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Alvin Botes, has concluded his visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Deputy Minister was participating in the Validation Workshop of the Principles and Guidelines of the Use of Digital and Social Media in Elections.
The General Assembly of the Association of African Electoral Authorities (AAEA) has mandated the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to implement resolutions and guidelines for safeguarding electoral integrity in the digital age as well as producing strategies for combating digital disinformation.
The IEC is supported by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through the African Renaissance Fund.
The Deputy Minister delivered a speech on Tuesday affirming South Africa’s support for the principles and guidelines for the use of digital and social media in elections in Africa.
In his speech, the Deputy Minister said: “It is important for governments and electoral management bodies to take advantage of these digital and social media to inform and capacitate our youth, given that our continent has a youthful populace”.
Botes told delegates that digital and social media can also be harnessed to reach various sectors of society, including those in rural areas, as well as those living with disabilities to ensure that no one is left behind.
However, he said necessary infrastructure should be put in place for countries to be able to take full advantage of these technological developments.
“In addition to the information and communication infrastructure, there is a need for the appropriate legislative and regulatory system to be put in place that would facilitate access to information and the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association, in line with the various constitutions in place across our continent, as well as the attendant responsibilities that go with the exercise of such rights,” he added.
It is envisaged that following the Validation Workshop, the AAEA General Assembly, alongside the Annual Election Management Bodies Forum to be organised by the AU Commission in Benin, in November 2023, will adopt the Principles, and Guidelines on the Use of Digital and Social Media in Elections in Africa. – SAnews.gov.za