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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

US Embassy praises IEC’s ability to conduct free and fair elections

The DA's letter to the US Goverment cast a call on the IEC’s ability to run the national and provincial elections.

The United States (US) Embassy in South Africa has praised the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) ability to run free and fair elections in the country.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) last week wrote to the US government pleading for additional resources to bolster the deployment of election observers when South Africans go the polls on 29 May.

The national and provincial election is expected to be the most hotly contested since the dawn of democracy 30 years ago.

In a letter addressed to US secretary of state Antony Blinken, the DA claimed the election is facing risks from Jacob Zuma’s MK Party and the ANC’s alliances with “malign international actors”.

IEC reputation

However US Embassy spokesperson David Feldmann told The Citizen the IEC has an “excellent reputation”.

“South Africa is a sovereign democracy that runs its own electoral processes.  The Independent Electoral Commission has a longstanding and excellent reputation for conducting free and fair elections.”

While South Africa’s elections have generally been free and fair, with the country counted among those with the best practices and excelling in holding elections after 30 years of democracy, the DA’s letter is seen as insinuating that the IEC lacks the ability to run a smooth election.

ALSO READ: WATCH: DA says US letter not meant to undermine IEC’s ability to run elections

Undermining IEC

However, the DA’s shadow minister for international relations Emma Louise Powell has refuted this.

“We as a nation have got everything to play for and everything to lose. So, our request to the international community is in our democracy’s interest, it is not our interest as an individual organisation and it certainly does not cast a call on the IEC’s ability to run the election. This is standard practice in democracies the world over,” Powell said.

In the letter to Blinken, the DA said it’s the party’s contention that as the “ruling elite grow more desperate to retain electoral support ahead of the upcoming elections, they may be willing to put their narrow political interests ahead of our country’s broader interests and sacred constitutional values”.

“Here, we are witnessing an increasing willingness by the ANC to forge alliances with malign international actors, whose regimes are characterised by tyranny, terror and oppression,” wrote Powell.”

ALSO READ: WATCH: DA trying to ‘mortgage’ our democracy to the US – Ramaphosa


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