Pretoria, South Africa. The Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 National and Provincial Elections in the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Joseph Malanji, launched the SEOM in Pretoria, South Africa, on 29th April 2019.
In his remarks, Hon. Malanji, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia, representing the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, encouraged all stakeholders to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible manner. He looked forward to an electoral process which adheres to democratic values and principles envisioned in the SADC Treaty, the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation; and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
Hon. Malanji said SEOM will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the forth-coming elections are conducted in a free, fair and credible manner and in accordance with the provisions of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).
Hon. Malanji also acknowledged the efforts that have been made by South African authorities to ensure that the current elections are held in a peaceful and orderly environment, and that voting materials are delivered on time to all the voting stations.
The Head of Mission added that the SEOM consisted, in total, of 48 personnel from 10 SADC Member States namely Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He further stated that the SEOM observers would be deployed to all the nine (9) provinces of South Africa, namely, Eastern Cape; Free State; Gauteng; KwaZulu-Natal; Limpopo; Mpumalanga; Northern Cape; North West; and Western Cape.
The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax said SADC will observe elections based on its three-phase approach, which includes, the pre-elections phase, the elections phase, and the post-elections phase and that the mission would be on the ground up to the 16th May 2019.
Dr. Tax indicated that the elections would further contribute to the enhancement of democracy in the Republic of South Africa, and in the Region and called upon all electoral stakeholders to continue with the ongoing preparations in an inclusive and peaceful manner. She further encouraged South Africans, to exercise their civic right by casting their votes, and electing their leaders democratically and in a peaceful manner.
In his engagements with stakeholders, the Head of Mission will be accompanied by the SEOM Alternate Head of Mission, Hon. Kabinga Pande, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia; members of the Organ Troika, and of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC).
The South African National and Provincial Elections will be held on the 8th May 2019 to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each of the nine provinces. These will be the sixth elections to be held since the first democratic elections in 1994.
The launch of SEOM was attended by Heads of Diplomatic Mission, representatives and leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, religious organizations and the media.
SEOM headquarters is located at the Sheraton Hotel in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria and SEOM will issue its interim statement on the elections on 10th May 2019 at its headquarters.