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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


US says it’s up to SA and IEC to decide if observers are needed for elections

The DA's letter effectively insinuates and casts a doubt that the IEC lacks the ability to run a smooth, free and fair election.


The United States (US) says it’s up to the South African government and Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to decide if the country needs observers in upcoming national and provincial elections.

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 letter effectively insinuates and casts a doubt that the IEC lacks the ability to run a smooth, free and fair election in the country. But the official opposition has denied this.

US embassy spokesperson David Feldmann said South Africa is a sovereign country that runs its own elections and the US recognises the IEC has a long standing and “excellent” reputation for operating free and fair elections.

“We have every confidence that this will be the case in this election.”

ALSO READ: WATCH: IEC says DA ‘misguided on how electoral process works’

US-SA relationship

Feldmann agreed that South Africa, not without its challenges has a reasonably healthy relationship with the US government.

“The ambassador was talking about this the other day. It’s really as robust as it has been in decades, we have a high level of conversation, we have the presidents talking together, we have secretary Blinken and Minister Pandor.

“We have the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury who is in Gauteng today and it’s a sign of how close the countries are. Even when we disagree and have different approaches, we are talking,” Feldmann told 702.

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 was facing risks from Jacob Zuma’s MK Party and the ANC’s alliances with “malign international actors”.

Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa accused the DA of trying to “sell” South Africa to the US by writing the letter to Blinken.

ALSO READ: DA letter: Disguised call to ‘invade SA with Western influence’ – expert

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