Media Statement on the South African Observer Mission to the
Palestinian Presidential Elections on 9 January 2005
Pretoria - The South
African Government is sending a high profile election observer delegation to Palestine,
ahead of the Palestinian Presidential Election, to be held on 9 January 2005.
The delegation will be led by Mr Dumisani Sithole, Chairperson of the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs. Dr Brigalia Bam, Chairperson of the Independent
Electoral Commission (IEC) will also from part of the delegation and assist with
technical advice and expertise. The team will depart South Africa on 5 January
2005 and return on 12 January 2005.
South Africa's participation in observing
the forthcoming elections in Palestine will not be the first such endeavour. The
South African Government sent a delegation of observers, under the banner of the
Organisation of African Unity (OAU), to the elections that were held in the Palestinian
territories in 1996.
South Africa's participation in observing these elections
is pivotal to the Presidential Peace Initiative and the Government's ongoing efforts
to assist the conflicting parties in finding a long lasting resolution to the
current political crisis. It is hoped that South Africa's participation in the
election monitoring would contribute to ensuring the freeness and fairness of
elections in Palestine, which would subsequently revitalise the Peace Process.
South Africa supports the realisation of a two-state solution in the Middle
East, with an independent state of Palestine coexisting side-by-side with Israel
within secure borders.
South Africa joins the international community in
welcoming Israel's commitment that it would ease its military presence in the
West Bank and Gaza. However, the South African Government remains concerned over
the serious escalation of violence in the Occupied Territories, particularly the
recent Israeli incursions in Gaza. The Government also calls on all Palestinian
militants to stop the firing of rockets and mortars. Such acts of violence are
likely to imperil the electoral process and jeopardise the prospects for peace.
South African Government maintains its firm belief that free and fair elections
in Palestine will contribute positively towards the resumption of negotiations
between the Palestinian and the Israelis and consequently create conditions necessary
for the implementation of the Road Map.
List of delegation:
Sithole: Chairperson of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs (Head
Dr Brigalia Bam : Chairperson of IEC
Mr Patrick Sibande:
Member of Parliament
Ms Pinky Mokoto: Member of Parliament
Mpumlwana: Deputy Chairperson IEC
Mr Iqbal Jhazbhay: Academic
Vukile Nehana: Religious leader
Rev Edwin Makue: SACC
Mr Isaac Mogotsi:
Ms Zeenat Adam: DFA delegate
Ms Nthabiseng Nkosi: DFA
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.
of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
4 January 2005