S Africans called to actively participate in elections

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pretoria - With the general election fast approaching on 7 May, Cabinet has called on South Africans to demonstrate the spirit of the vibrant, enthusiastic and peaceful democracy that the country enjoys.

"Cabinet calls on all South Africans to be active participants in electioneering, but to do so peacefully and with tolerance for the right of all voters to express their opinions publicly and make their choice privately in the voting booth," Acting Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Angie Motshekga, said on Thursday following Cabinet’s regular meeting.

Law enforcement agencies, the minister said, will be active to ensure a conducive environment, so that "all areas of the country participate in the democratic process, which is a product of our struggle for freedom".

Yesterday, 29 of the 33 political parties -- which last week submitted documentation to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), indicating their intention to contest the national election -- pledged to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct at a signing ceremony in Midrand.

Each party promised to campaign peacefully, without resorting to intimidation tactics to win voters over.

Four parties were unable to send a representative to the signing ceremony but remain bound by the Code of Conduct in terms of law, and will be invited to sign the pledge at their soonest opportunity.

Twenty years into democracy, multi-party politics is flourishing in South Africa.  There were 19 parties on the national ballot paper in South Africa's historic first democratic election in 1994, and 21 parties in 2004.

Currently, a total of 25 390 150 voters are on the voters’ roll. This is 2 208 153 more voters (9.5% increase) than were on the voters’ roll for the 2009 general election and 7.2 million (39.72% increase) more than were on the voters’ roll when it was established for the first time for the 1999 elections.

Motshekga said at the Cabinet meeting, the executive also noted the forensic report that was commissioned by National Treasury on the IEC.

On Tuesday, auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), on behalf of Treasury, released a report of their forensic investigation on the procurement of the IEC's Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, Pretoria. This follows the recommendation made in the Public Protector’s report.

Cabinet has tasked the Minister of Home Affairs to follow up and advise Cabinet on that matter. – SAnews.gov.za

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