SA Leads Observers to SADC Countries

Pretoria - South Africa will, as the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, lead electoral observer missions to three countries.

This is part of enhancing democratic practices in the SADC region.
The observer missions will be deployed in Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. The countries will hold presidential and parliamentary elections between October and November.

The launch of the mission to Mozambique will take place on 3 October, while the launch for Botswana is scheduled for 10 October and Namibia is set for 13 November.

However, in accordance with the SADC Electoral Advisory Council rules, assessment teams will be deployed to the countries to assess the electoral preparedness ahead of the observer missions.

The assessment missions, according to International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers, will encourage adherence to the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

The assessment missions have already taken place in both Botswana and Mozambique, with Namibia due to take place soon.

They assessed the preparations and readiness for the holding of elections.
"They will also identify the potential challenges, which might constitute hindering factors for the successful holding of the elections and prepare for the logistics requirements," Deputy Minister Landers said on Thursday.

Mozambique's Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections will pit Renamo-leader Afonso Dhlakama against Felipe Nyasa, the candidate of the ruling party, Frelimo, to succeed President Armando Guebuza after serving two terms.

Last year, the country saw tensions after the former rebel movement Renamo was at loggerheads with the Frelimo government, accusing it of not honouring the Rome peace agreement they signed in 1992.

Since then, the two sides have formally approved an agreement on the cessation of hostilities on both sides.

There will be 17 199 polling stations in the country for the upcoming elections, according to the National Elections Commission in that country.

The neighbouring Botswana will go to its 11th general elections on October 24.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which is led by President Ian Khama, has been in power since independence in 1966.

It is widely expected that a comfortable victory for BDP in 2014 remains by far the most likely outcome.

BDP will be up against Dumelang Saleshando of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Duma Boko of the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

Khama, the country's fourth president since independence, succeeded the former president Festus Mogae in 2008 following the latter's retirement. Khama was then elected as the president during the 2009 general elections.

Namibians will go to the polls in November to elect the country's third democratically elected president, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The country has held relatively peaceful and fair elections since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990.

South Africa hoped that the elections in the three countries will be peaceful, and fair.

Deputy Minister Landers said South Africa will continue to play a leading role in peace and security activities at regional and continental level.

"We intend to ensure synergies in our work programme in SADC, the African Union Peace and Security Council and at the United Nations."