Plans by South Africa, as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to address the upcoming National Elections in Zimbabwe

QUOTE

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 64 (CW70E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 2-2012 OF 24 FEBRUARY 2012

MR DB FELDMAN (COPE-GAUTENG) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Whether South Africa, as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has any plans in place to address the upcoming national elections in Zimbabwe if a certain person (name furnished) fails to comply with the norms and standards set by the SADC; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what plans and (b) what are the further relevant details?

REPLY

A lasting solution to the situation in Zimbabwe remains a high priority for our Government and the region as a whole.  To this end the South African facilitators remain engaged with the process towards the full implementation of the GPA.  The constitution writing process is underway, which would be subjected to a referendum for adoption, to be followed with an election. The process has not yet reached a stage where a draft constitution has been agreed to and subjected to a referendum.

It is therefore premature and indeed speculative to assume that one or other party will or will not conduct itself in compliance with the SADC Guidelines on Elections.  Once we reach the referendum and election stages, SADC will field and Observation Mission if invited in terms of article 2.1 of the SADC Principles and Guideline Governing Democratic Elections, and pronounce itself after concluding the Observation process in terms of its own Guidelines.

The SADC Principles and Guidelines for Conducting Democratic Elections stipulate that Member States shall adhere to the following principles:

  • Full participation of citizens in the political process;

  • Freedom of association;

  • Political tolerance;

  • Regular intervals for elections as provided for by the respective National Constitutions’

  • Equal opportunity for all political parties to access the State media;

  • Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for;

  • Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of electoral institutions;

  • Voter education;

  • Acceptance and respect of the election results by political parties proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent National Electoral Authorities in accordance with the law of the land; and

  • Challenge of the election results as provided for in the law of the land.

I trust that this response will adequately address the issues raised by the Honourable Member of the National Council of Provinces.

UNQUOTE

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