SA welcomes international election observers

2014-05-05 18:17

The South African government has welcomed international election observers to the country ahead of Wednesday’s general elections, the Department of International Relations said.

Observers were dispatched from the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the Commonwealth to follow the elections, spokesperson Clayson Monyela said today.

The UN was also invited to send observers.

“In addition, ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to SA have been invited by the Electoral Commission of SA to visit polling stations throughout the country; and this invitation is not transferable.”

This was not necessarily a standard international practice, as not all countries extended this courtesy to the diplomatic corps.

“In fact, in SA, it was previously extended beyond just the Ambassador or High Commissioner.

“And we do this even for countries that don’t extend the same courtesy to us during their own elections.”

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

Government urged everyone participating in the election to cooperate with the observers.

“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,” Monyela said.

South African election observers had been sent to other countries, mainly in Africa, over the last 20 years.

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