Over 300 international observers for South Africa polls

April 18th, 2009 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Pretoria, April 18 (IANS) More than 300 international observers will oversee South Africa’s general elections next Wednesday to ensure free and fair polls.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said the recommendations of the 333 international observers would be taken into consideration.

“We want to assure that any recommendations you make to us for improving the way we do things will be taken into consideration,” IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam told the observers Friday, BuaNews reported.

Sixteen observer teams, including representatives from the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Senegal People Development Institute and SADC Electoral Forum will oversee the elections.

The chairperson urged the observers to share their country’s experiences in dealing with political disputes.

“In some areas there is a lot of political intolerance, you can share the methods used in your own country to mediate,” said Bam.

She said additional police personnel will be deployed in the sensitive areas.

South Africa’s home department said it would remain open for extended hours on the election day to allow people to collect their identity documents for the purpose of voting.

“The Home Affairs offices across the country will remain open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday,” the department said.

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