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South African opposition writes to IEC, Parly over possible Zanu-PF election participation

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The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it has not granted Zimbabwe’s leading political party, Zanu-PF, election observer mission status yet.

This comes after the African Transformation Movement (ATM) voiced its displeasure to Parliament over the invitation of the Zanu-PF to observe the country’s upcoming national elections.

Leader of the ATM, Vuyo Zungula, said his party is opposed to Zanu-PF being part of the elections set for May 29.

As such, the party has written to both Parliament and the IEC to voice its displeasure over this matter.

According to media reports, Zanu-PF was invited by the governing party to campaign on its behalf and participate as an observer during the elections which, according to Zungula, is a conflict of interest.

In a letter dated May 10, this year, addressed to the IEC’s Mosotho Moepya and Parliament, Zungula said allowing Zanu-PF to observe South Africa’s elections will tarnish and compromise the legitimacy and credibility of the country’s electoral processes.

“I write to you as the President of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) to express our grave concerns regarding recent reports indicating that Zanu-PF, the ruling party of Zimbabwe, intends to participate as part of an observer mission for the upcoming elections in South Africa.

“We as the ATM strongly condemn the notion of Zanu-PF being allowed to observe our elections for several significant reasons.”

Zungula said in light of a series of human rights violations as well as challenges in conducting free and fair elections under Zanu-PF’s watch in Zimbabwe, the country does not deserve to be part of South Africa’s election processes.

“Zimbabwe has faced serious challenges in conducting free and fair elections, as evidenced by reports from various international organisations over the years. Furthermore, permitting Zanu-PF to observe our elections is not only concerning due to their track record but also because of their close association with the ruling party in South Africa, the African National Congress,” Zungula added.

The IEC, through its chairperson Moepya, said it has received Zungula’s letter indicating the party’s discomfort with having Zanu-PF as an observer.

“I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated May 10 in which you expressed concerns regarding Zanu-PF’s participation in the 2024 National and Provincial Elections as an observer.

“The commission would like to reassure you and the ATM community that it has not accredited Zanu-PF, or any other political party, to observe the elections in South Africa. The commission strongly believes in the integrity of the elections it manages and, therefore, safeguards against measures that would compromise its processes,” Moepya said.

The ATM has also filed an Electoral Court complaint over this matter in a letter to Delisile Nhlapho on May 9.

“We refer to the above and hereby file our client’s complaint regarding prohibited conduct, namely, no person may abuse a position of power, privilege, or influence to influence the conduct or outcome of an election as stipulated by section 9(2) of the Electoral Code of Conduct,” the lawyers representing the party wrote.