South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation minister Lindiwe Sisulu has assured the diplomatic corps that the country is ready to go to the polls in May.
Following a quarterly engagement with members of the diplomatic corps, Ms Sisulu told journalists it was all systems go ahead of the sixth democratic elections on May 8.
“We discussed the level of transparency and the level of preparedness. We have never had a problem with elections, but we like to keep our community informed. They are an important part of our community. Therefore, we would like a close working relationship with them,” Ms Sisulu said.
She said South Africa had, to date, sent 65 career diplomats out to strengthen their capacity and offer support to its nationals abroad to exercise their rights within “what is affordable and possible for the government”.
“Our missions are very much prepared for the elections. It won’t be the first time that we will be facilitating the elections; this will be the fifth time. We have no doubt that our missions will ensure that South Africans abroad will have unfettered access come voting time.”
She congratulated other African countries that had conducted successful elections, such as Madagascar, adding that she hoped that South Africa would register similar success.
A close eye
“With time, we are looking forward to having peaceful elections,” she said.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has confirmed that at least 229 parties would participate in the General Election, adding that they were looking forward to having peaceful poll.
Meanwhile, Ms Sisulu said the South African government was keeping a close eye on Zimbabwe following nationwide protests stemming from the increase in fuel prices.
“We remain available to support the Zimbabwean government within our means. They are our neighbours therefore the state of peace there affects us, and we would like to make sure it is a prosperous country,” she added.