Former Nigerian president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who was part of an observer mission for the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, during a media briefing at the national election results operation centre in Pretoria on Friday. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - The 2019 national and provincial elections in South Africa were conducted within a strong legal and institutional framework that guaranteed democratic elections, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) said on Friday.

"The key players in the process conducted themselves in accordance with stipulated laws and guidelines. South Africa, through these elections, met its obligations to democratic elections, set out in the different international instruments to which it is party," leader of the EISA election observer mission (EOM) and former Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said.

"The EISA EOM notes the recent allegations of electoral fraud by some political parties. The EISA EOM has not observed an unusual increase in voter turnout in comparison to previous elections. Such an increase would have been expected in the case of widespread multiple voting."

Jonathan said the institute called on aggrieved parties to "freely express their dissatisfaction" within the confines of the law, and made a call to citizens to maintain their trust in the judiciary.  

"The EISA EOM wishes to further encourage political leaders to be measured and well informed in their pronouncements, to avoid misleading or inciting the public. Political parties should also work with the [Electoral Commission of South Africa - IEC] to determine the extent of the alleged multiple voting and its overall impact on the process," he said.

"The EISA EOM commends South Africa for its continued commitment to democracy and the conduct of a peaceful electoral process. The Mission encourages the country to maintain the good practices that have been identified in this report."

Earlier on Friday, 35 independent political parties that contested Wednesday's election said that the polls were not free and fair and called for an independent investigation. "Thirty-five political parties across the full political spectrum are part of this collective. The IEC has already labelled us as disgruntled, we in the strongest terms object to this because we represent millions of South Africans from all walks of life," said the parties. 

They said they had submitted a letter of grievance to the IEC on Thursday demanding an independent audit and rerun of the elections.  

African News Agency (ANA)