SA has held a successful election, says observer

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa has once again proved that it can hold a successful election and is serious about democracy.

Speaking to BuaNews from the Results Operation Centre, were the votes from Wednesday's General Election are being counted, international observer Oranto Atombo said despite a few glitches, overall the elections had gone smoothly.

"An election of this magnitude can hardly be 100 percent free of anything. Even in advanced democracies."

As the elections drew to a close on Wednesday, voters flocked to the polls in their numbers, causing long queues and a shortage of voting material in some districts and voting stations.

Presiding officers scrambled to supply polling stations with voting material. All stations closed at 9pm. However, all voters who were in the queue at the time were allowed to vote.

These challenges led to counting getting off to a late start in some voting districts.

Mr Atombo said that judging by the voter's determination to stand in long queues to make their mark, South Africans were serious about democracy.

"That alone indicates how serous South Africans are about their hard earned democracy and it also indicates what they want for their country," he said.

Mr Atombo is one of 333 election observers currently in the country to witness the elections and ensure they are free and fair.

According to the Independent Electoral Office (IEC), about 77 percent of South Africans voted yesterday. The commission had hoped for an 80 percent voter turnout.