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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Stephen Grootes.]

For some months before the local elections in August, there were fears that the Electoral Commission was becoming vulnerable, and that the institution could actually lose the ability to run elections in a way that was perceived to be free and fair. In the end, the polls they ran passed that test with flying colours. Now the ANC appears to be showing that it is unhappy with the IEC’s performance. And that Gwede Mantashe, a man who really should know better, is trying to almost intimidate the institution. It’s another sign the ANC is losing the plot. And another strong indication that our politics is changing fundamentally, and more quickly than most people could have imagined.

City Press has now revealed that high-ranking members of the ANC have called the IEC “an enemy” and suggested that it is trying to help opposition parties. The paper spells out how Mantashe and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, verbally attacked IEC deputy chair, Terry Tselane, in the presence of President Jacob Zuma. The party is also unhappy that the commission has tried to reduce the number of teachers it uses as electoral officers (the teachers belong to the union SADTU, which is aligned to the ANC through Cosatu). The ANC has also raised concern that the IEC uses the services of an IT firm that has links to Israel.

The paper reveals that Tselane has written a letter to the other commissioners, explaining his concerns. It also says that he himself is now concerned for his safety, and that he has asked for personal protection.

For years, opposition parties have made the claim that the IEC was too close to the ANC. That some of its commissioners had strong links to the ruling party. It was easy for critics of these parties to claim that they were simply sore losers, that they had no prospect of winning power, and thus they were just complaining about the person who actually counted the votes.

But to go through the ANC’s complaints is to be simply astounded at how weak they are. Who looks like the sore loser now?

Continue reading here.

South Africa at a Glance
56 500 000 (mid 2017 estimate)
5.1% y/y in September 2017 (CPI) & +4.2% y/y in August 2017 (PPI)
2.5% q/q for the 2nd quarter of 2017
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