Status of the South African Government regarding the Verdict of the Election Observer Missions in Nigeria

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 136

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 14 OF 5 MONTH 2007

MR J SEREMANE (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

(1) Whether with reference to the recent statement made by her department that South Africa would await the verdict of all election observer missions to Nigeria before pronouncing on that country's elections, her department was aware of the fact that observer missions from the United States, the European Union and the regional West African bloc have criticised these elections; if not, what is the position in this regard; is so, (a) on what grounds does Government view these elections as having been free and fair, (b) what were the findings of the SA Electoral Commission and (c) what were the reasons for the Government not sending its own election observer mission?N933

REPLY:

(1) Yes

(a) In articulating its position, South Africa is guided by the Statement issued by the regional grouping; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which acknowledged that there were logistical problems. The ECOWAS Statement declared the elections acceptable but called on all Nigerians to use "peaceful and constitutional" means in addressing the contestations around the election results.

ECOWAS further indicated that the Nigerian Authorities should empower electoral tribunals to fast-track the resolution of all complaints.

(b) There was no official South African election observer mission to the Nigerian elections. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) only provided technical assistance to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria.

(c) The South African government was invited to observe the elections in Nigeria but the invitation was received too late to constitute a representative observer mission to that country. South Africa's High Commission in Nigeria participated as part of the diplomatic community in the observation of the election.


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