SADC observers impressed with SA election preparations

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pretoria – The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) is impressed and satisfied with the level of South Africa’s preparations for the May 7 general elections.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) launched the first international observer mission in Pretoria on Saturday.

Speaking at the launch, Acting Head of SADC Electoral Observer Mission, Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister in Lesotho, said the observer mission team is here to observe that democratic processes were being followed during the elections.

Tsekoa said he is impressed with the level of preparations for the elections. “We have no doubt that this atmosphere of peace that exists before the elections will continue to hold during and after the elections, as an observer mission, we commit to the neutrality and independence of the observers.

“We insist on our mission to uphold SADC Electoral Observer Mission guidelines,” he said, adding that 160 SADC observers will be monitoring the elections.

During the elections, the observers will be deployed in all the provinces to observe the elections.

Tsekoa said South Africa, as one of the big countries in the sub-region, owes it to itself to set a good example as it has done in the past.

“The legacy of the first President Nelson Mandela must live on, everybody must be persuaded by the fond memories of a man who sacrificed his entire life to ensure that the future generations of South Africa can freely elect governments of their choice and that all have equal opportunities,” he said.

After the elections, the team will converge and compile its report about their experiences and the elections.

More members of the observer mission team are expected to arrive in the country during the course of the week.

This year South Africa will be conducting its firth general elections since 1994.

This year's election is special as it coincides with the country's 20th anniversary of democratic transition.

The observers will work to ensure that the elections are fair, transparent and peaceful.

Some of the observer mission team members, who are already in the country, have started their work of monitoring the situation prior to the elections.

Also speaking at the same event was SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax who said she was hopeful that all will go well on Elections Day.

“The SADC observers are committed in ensuring that there is peace, security and stability during the elections,” she said.

She echoed Tsekoa’s sentiments that the observers will be guided by the SADC electoral code of conduct.

The last SEOM assignment was to observe the elections in Madagascar last year, in December. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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