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African observer groups declare elections free, fair & transparent

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said South Africa’s democracy had come of age.

An Independent Electoral Officer (IEC) opens a ballot box as counting begins at the Addington Primary School after voting ended at the sixth national general elections in Durban, on 8 May 2019. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG - Three African observer groups have declared South Africa’s general election free, fair and transparent.

The missions from the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and regional Electoral
Commissions Forum said their opinion stands despite legal challenges from more than 30 of the 48 competing parties.

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete heads the African Union observer mission which is a heavyweight among the independent groups witnessing South Africa's election.

He welcomed the fact that parties in dispute plan to take their grievances to court rather than out into the streets.

He commended the various stakeholders that he said had made the election a success.

Kikwete said South Africa’s democracy, which is young compared with other African countries, had come of age.

The SADC observer mission said the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) had efficiently managed the polls with a few challenges.

The mission said the IEC did well to appoint two or more party agents at each voting station and it made effective efforts to manage a mature campaign.

Zambian Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji said: “The IEC made effective efforts to enforce the code of conduct for political parties to manage their campaign messages thus ensuring the mature campaign environment.”

The African Union observer mission said its final report would only be released in two months’ time, but it noted that the IEC was prepared although there were concerns about youth participation in this election.

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