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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

ANC is up in arms over DA’s ‘provocative’ letter to the United States

The Democratic Alliance has asked for increased Western support in monitoring the 2024 elections.

The uproar caused by a Democratic Alliance (DA) letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for increased Western support in monitoring the May polls has led to two leading political analysts perceiving the move differently.

Independent analyst Sandile Swana says the move is “highly provocative” while University of South Africa political science Prof Dirk Kotzé has “sympathy for the DA view”.

This comes against the background of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) having a limited budget to deal effectively with possible security breaches like hacking – which has been seen in previous US elections.

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Dear America

In a letter to Blinken, sent through US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben E Brigety, DA MP and shadow minister for international relations Emma Louise Powell said the party wanted “to sharpen our appeal to the international community in helping to ensure the integrity of the upcoming elections”.

Assistance requested by the DA from the US includes:

  • An increased contingent of international observers to monitor the 2024 polls with resources made available “to bolster the deployment of additional, independent, domestic observers”; and
  • Empowering of civil society organisations 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,” said Powell.

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‘Reactionary and inhumane agenda’

The ANC has described the DA as harbouring “a reactionary and inhumane agenda which knows no limits”.

“It is little surprise that its leader said ‘one man’s genocide is another’s man’s freedom’, when asked about the genocidal [acts] of Israel in Palestine.

“The ANC condemns in the strongest terms the DA’s sale of our sovereignty. The ANC firmly believes in the principle of self-determination and the right of every nation to choose its own path and leadership.

“We reject any attempts to undermine the sovereignty of South Africa or any other African nation,” it said.

While Kotzé could reason with the DA approach, Swana found it “surprising that the DA – for the first time since the dawn of the 1994 democracy – found it necessary to invite high-ranking 

American politicians to come and monitor local polls when this was not the case in the past”.

“In past SA polls, the DA was not in the habit of inviting high-ranking American politicians to come and monitor local polls.

“The DA’s move is highly provocative when the IEC has been trusted with handling polls from 1994 to date.

“Political parties have made it known that they have deployed their people to monitor elections in all voting districts to ensure there is no cheating in the system.

“In today’s environment, South Africa has many reputable election think-tanks – enough to monitor the polls,” said Swana.

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‘Security breaches’

Referring to geopolitics, Swana said the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters would “automatically be at loggerheads with Israel and the US while the DA, AfriForum, Freedom Front Plus and right-wing organisations across the board will readily align themselves with American imperialists whose aim is to recolonise South Africa.

“If this succeeds, it will be a sign that we are still under the control of Anglo-Saxons,” said Swana.

Kotzé said the DA wanted “to engage with the US embassy in SA and not with the US government in Washington DC”.

“They [DA] took it for granted there will not be enough international observers in South Africa.

“They have asked the American government to provide more resources and support for the domestic election observers accredited by the IEC to do their work better. I have some sympathy for that because the IEC has a limited budget.

“The DA is scared there might be security breaches in the IEC system like hacking,” he said.

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