No good year for elections, but democracy must win, says SA ambassador to Germany

Whether an economy is doing well or not, there is no ideal time for elections, SA ambassador to Germany Stone Sizani has said.

Sizani was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an event hosted by the South African Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

The embassy had hosted stakeholders in SA's tourism industry ahead of the 53rd Internationale Tourismus-Borse (ITB) world trade show, which starts on Wednesday March 6 and will continue until March 10.

Asked about his views on the upcoming elections, Sizani – a former MP and chief whip of the ANC – said that personally he had wished it was not an election year, because there had been several rapid developments in the country recently.

Counter-effect

"The election will have a counter-effect on what is happening in the country.

"However, a democracy is a democracy and you can't postpone elections. There is no good year for elections, whether the economy is doing well, whether you have a new president or an old president … there is no way you can say there should be no elections.

"Elections must come, they will always come," he said.

Instead, South Africans must consider what is in the best interests of the country and work towards achieving those interests instead if "fighting each other" because that will weaken the ability of the economy to recover, he argued.

Elections will come and go

"Elections must come. They will come, and they will go," he said.

Asked whether SA is doing enough to settle concerns among foreign investors about the way allegations of corruption and state capture are being dealt with, Sizani said that SA is taking action.

Addressing concerns raised in a memo from five embassies - including the US and Germany - to President Cyril Ramaphosa, warning that failure to act against those implicated in corruption could threaten foreign direct investment, Sizani said that SA's Department of International Relations and Cooperation had established the memo did not follow diplomatic protocol, Fin24 previously reported.

"I do not know of any country that could have four commissions of inquiry running simultaneously, focusing on specifics to right the wrongs of a country, other than SA," Sizani said.

'Ramaphosa is spot on'

"Action is being taken. No one can say we are pandering to whims of partners and friends who are advising us.

"The president is spot on, we support him 100%," he added.

Deputy President David Mabuza most recently told Parliament that the commissions of inquiry must be completed and reports with recommendations must be drawn up before government can consider any actions against those implicated.

*Fin24 is a guest of SA Tourism, which is exhibiting at ITB Berlin.

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