Friday 20 May 2011

Election Monitoring Network, Voting Day Report

Election Monitoring Network, Final Voting Day Report – 7.30 p.m., 18th May 2011

In the bulk of South Africa, the Local Government Elections were substantially peaceful. Where incidents arose, the agencies responsible for ensuring a successful election, as well as those tasked with protecting the electoral democratic space, dealt with them quickly, professionally and appropriately.

The ‘peace’ component in our maturing democracy has once again been demonstrated through these elections.

Although confirmation is awaited, it will be encouraging if the 50% turnout threshold is crossed.

While noting the above, however, we are gravely concerned by the reports of Election Day violence from Ulundi. Although this seems to have been an isolated case, one incident of violence remains one too many.

While Election Day was peaceful, it came against the backdrop of discontent and sometimes violence around service delivery. The low point of the election campaign was undoubtedly the death of Andries Tatane at Ficksburg. Tensions remain in our society which needs to be monitored in the short-term, while in the medium-term; the primary duty of our newly elected councillors must be to end the conditions which create such discontent.

There were many clear signals of a maturing democracy shown today. Foremost among these was the conduct of our citizens. They were called upon to act in a responsible manner, and as before their conduct has been impeccable.

We would also like to congratulate the IEC on their conduct of the election. While there were some minor administrative weaknesses, once again their machinery was capable of dealing with these in an appropriate manner. This helps ensure citizen confidence and peaceful elections. We would also like to congratulate SAPS for the way they responded to problems.

The media – both the print and electronic media – reported fairly and contributed to the robust debate and informed citizenry which are the cornerstones of democracy.

At this stage, today’s election seems to have been the most peaceful in South Africa’s democratic history, and we trust that this bodes well for our future.

For further enquiries contact: Derrick Marco on 0825607026

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