Johannesburg - A team of 275 attorneys and candidate
attorneys has been set up to monitor the 7 May general election, the Law
Society of SA (LSSA) said on Thursday.
"They will serve as the eyes and ears of our
citizens," co-chairpersons Max Boqwana and Ettienne Barnard said.
"When South Africa was a nascent democracy in 1994, we
had the eyes of the world on us. In that first historic election and in the
following elections, many international and regional bodies and NGOs sent
As the country's democracy matured, the perception had
developed that South Africa's electoral process was free, fair and transparent.
"We believe that to be so. But as the interest of
foreign observers and monitors has waned and turned to other jurisdictions, the
onus increases on us to ensure that our elections and electoral processes
remain sound and beyond question," they said.
"For that reason the LSSA's attorneys and candidate
attorneys have volunteered their time to serve as observers on election
The LSSA would place trained observers in voting and
counting stations across the country, and independent lawyers in the elections
"They will assess the electoral process with a
particular emphasis on compliance with regulations, laws, procedures and codes
of conduct," Boqwana and Barnard said.
"They will also evaluate participation of our people
and their understanding of the process."
Observers would submit reports and the LSSA would compile
and present its observations to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and make
these available to the public.
"Through this observer mission we intend to provide
support for our electoral commission by supporting and strengthening the
integrity of the elections process," Boqwana and Barnard said.
"We echo the IEC in saying that credible elections are
an expression of active citizenship and the free expression of the free will of
The LSSA's domestic observer mission would be complemented
by an international observer mission from the Southern African Development
Community Lawyers' Association.