Former ConCourt judge looks back on the 1994 elections

He says despite contentions, the IEC never doubted that SA’s first democratic election would be free & fair.

Johann Kriegler. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler says despite widespread discouragement, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of 1994 never had any doubt that South Africa's first democratic election would be free and fair.

Tomorrow the country will celebrate Freedom Day, to mark the day when South Africans of all races were allowed to cast their vote.

Official celebrations will take place in Giyani, Limpopo, where President Jacob Zuma will be giving an address.

Kriegler says experts warned it wasn't be possible to host successful post-apartheid elections.

"Experts told us that it couldn't be done and we had less than four months."

Despite this he says the IEC, under his guidance, vowed to ensure that all eligible South Africans would vote on 27 April 1994.

"At all costs, whatever else happened, we would vote on 27 April."

He said while the commission made several technical mistakes in the first democratic elections, a strong political will is what made the process successful.

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