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Poll observers not funded - IEC

Johannesburg -

Election observers, both local and international, were not funded by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), it said in an open letter on Wednesday.

The IEC was responding to questions from the Hola Bon Renaissance (HBR) Foundation.

The Foundation sent the IEC an email on April 30, demanding an explanation as to why it did not receive funding for its election observers, as it had received word that international observers' accommodation had been paid for.

HBR chairman Bontshitswe Mothopeng Msieleng said in his email to the IEC: “The IEC is alleged to have paid for international observers to use high class hotels and logistics while local observers are denied funding and excluded from elections plans.

“The question we pose is what is the agenda of the IEC, or who is this IEC accounting to? Definitely it's not South Africans and the SA Constitution.”

The IEC replied in its open letter that, in keeping with international practice, no observers would be funded in order to make sure the process was as impartial as possible.

IEC services manager Mlungisi Kelembe said: “At the various interactions that the HBR Foundation had with the Electoral Commission, it was always emphasised explicitly that the commission will not depart from this international practice. “

He dismissed the allegation that the IEC paid for international observers as “completely untrue”.

“The commission would appreciate it if the HBR Foundation could submit proof in support of this allegation so that it could investigate and take appropriate measures against anyone implicated in contravening this practice.”

The HBR Foundation is a non-profit organisation aimed at upholding democracy in Africa. - Sapa

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