SA welcomes international election observer missions

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pretoria - Government has welcomed the various international election observer missions in the country ahead of the 2014 National and Provincial Elections, scheduled for tomorrow.

The international election observers are spread across all nine provinces to assess the conduct of the South African electoral process and monitor compliance with international standards.

“The practice of foreign countries and international organisations monitoring elections is accepted as one of the ways in which the international community can monitor and promote compliance with democratic values, principles and practices,” said International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

According Monyela, these missions include those dispatched by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Commonwealth.

The United Nations (UN) has also been invited to send an election observer mission in addition to ambassadors and High Commissioners, who have been invited by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to visit polling stations throughout the country.

Monyela said this was not necessarily a standard international practice.

“It’s not all countries that extend this courtesy to the Diplomatic Corps. In fact, in South Africa, it was previously extended beyond just the Ambassador/High Commissioner. And we do this even for countries that don’t extend the same courtesy to us during their own elections.”

Government urged all those participating in the election to cooperate with the observers.

Government has further encouraged all South Africans, especially young and first-time voters, to exercise their democratic right to vote. Young people comprise a large proportion of South Africa’s population, and “the future should be forged by them”, government said on Tuesday.

The 2014 Elections hold a special significance for South Africans, as the year marks the celebration of 20 Years of Freedom since the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. – SAnews.gov.za 

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