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Johannesburg - It was free and fair, said the Southern African states.
The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) said that despite some problems, the mission “concludes that the 2014 national and provincial elections were peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible, reflecting the will of the South African people”.
The announcement on Friday was made by SEOM head, Namibian foreign affairs minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
“SEOM observed that despite some shortcomings and concerns, such as the late opening of some of the voting stations, delay of the delivery of some voting materials, and sporadic incidents of violence, such shortcomings and concerns are not of such magnitude as to affect the credibility of the overall electoral process,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
“SEOM urges all political parties, and other stakeholders, to respect the will of the people in line with the laws of the Republic of South Africa, and the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
“Any complaint relating to the electoral process should be referred to the relevant legal dispute settlement mechanism of the country.”
The SADC Electoral Advisory Council held an assessment of election readiness in March, then the SEOM group of 188 observers arrived on April 21. They were deployed in all provinces.
SEOM said the election campaigning was “generally peaceful” and contesting parties showed political tolerance and maturity although there were instances of “inflammatory statements” by some parties and sporadic incidents of violence.
“Some of these incidents were related to service delivery protests and industrial actions,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
SABC gave parties equitable amounts of airtime based on their size and they were invited to debates, she said.
The IEC managed the elections “in a transparent and professional manner”, and there were party agents at voting stations and international observers across the country, she said.
Procedures at voting stations conformed to the law, although some voting materials were late so some voting stations opened late.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said that counting had started immediately after polls closed and counting procedures were adhered to.
The IEC also announced the results immediately after counting as provided for in the electoral law, she said.