DA’s plea for international observers slammed

DA MP Emma Louise Powell.

DA MP Emma Louise Powell.

Published Mar 11, 2024


The DA’s letter to the US Secretary of State and other foreign affairs ministers in Europe calling for increased contingents of international observers to monitor the 2024 elections is based on speculation and pure imagination, opposition parties claim.

The letter by DA MP Emma Louise Powell cited the ruling ANC possibly receiving below 50% of the national vote and the recent establishment of the MK Party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, “which may have concomitant implications at the national level”.

“We are of the view that MK poses a substantive risk to the continued peaceful nature of our political discourse as a nation. The fluid nature of the current political landscape thus presents both significant risks as well as opportunities,” said Powell.

“More can be done to ensure that civil society organisations are capacitated to provide voter education and capacity-building for domestic monitors. Your country can help to safeguard against any attempts to disrupt the democratic process or negatively influence the South African electorate through misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

We therefore expect that any available technological resources designed to mitigate against these risks, will be made available to opposition parties and independent watchdogs, to safeguard against sinister attempts to manipulate election outcomes, particularly within vulnerable communities,” the letter read.

While the ANC described this as the DA offering “South Africa's sovereignty on a silver platter" by requesting that “partners in democracy to engage with consequence in the run-up to the elections”, Good party secretary Brett Herron said: “The DA is peddling conspiracy theories and anti-democracy propaganda.

They are emulating dangerous politicians of the likes of Donald Trump who seek to mobilise voters based on false information and to engender mistrust of an electoral system that is objectively robust and generally credible. They should be penalised by the IEC for undermining the electoral process and generating disinformation.”

The ANC said the notion that an African country's elections are only considered credible when observed by Europeans or Americans was a clear example of paternalistic imperialism.

“Despite our impeccable track record of running free and fair elections in South Africa, we have never sought to comment on the elections in the West, even when their own citizens question the credibility of their electoral processes. Our Independent Electoral Commission is highly regarded worldwide for conducting credible elections. As per usual practice in democratic South Africa the IEC invites over 120 international organisations, regional and continental organisations such as AU SADC amongst others.”

Wits international relations Professor John Stremlau said while independent observers were important this election, especially with social media and disinformation; he did not like the politicisation of the matter by the DA because “the Independent Electoral Commission has an outstanding reputation globally, it’s a historic reputation established in 1994”.

“The US is in deep trouble, with Donald Trump having questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.

“No presidential candidate has ever done this. It’s now a sensitive issue.

People are aware this is a very important election here,” he said.

Cape Times