National 4.8.2016 02:58 pm

US, UK congratulate SA after elections

The que outside Capital Park Primary School voting station, 3 August 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The que outside Capital Park Primary School voting station, 3 August 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Jessye Lepenn, the new deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Pretoria released a clip on Facebook addressing South Africans.

Following SA’s municipal elections on Wednesday, several of the world’s leading democracies seem to have been impressed by how the polls were managed, seeing them as both transparent and fair.

“We congratulate the IEC and South Africans on the local government elections held yesterday. We made informal observations as guests of the IEC as part of regular diplomatic engagement,” Isabel Potgieter, spokesperson for the British Embassy in Pretoria, told the African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday afternoon.

“We look forward to continuing and growing our relationship with South Africa at all levels.”

More than 26 million South Africans registered to vote and more than half cast their votes in the hotly contested local government elections.

Jessye Lepenn, the new deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Pretoria released a clip on Facebook addressing South Africans.

“On behalf of all my colleagues at the embassy I wanted to wish South Africans a happy municipal elections day,” said Lepenn. “August 3 marked the chance for you to vote to choose your leaders in your communities and to set the course for your families. As one citizen of a democracy to many citizens of another democracy I wish you all the best.”

Australia’s high commissioner to South Africa, who is currently abroad in Australia, told ANA through a spokesperson at the embassy that Canberra also wished South Africans well.

Meanwhile, South African Ambassador to Uganda Solly Mollo told ANA during an interview from Kampala that he thought it was practical that South African diplomats abroad were not able to cast absentee votes for the municipal elections from where they were stationed.

“Voting is an important issue for me. I fought with the ANC for many years as a cadre to be allowed this right when I was deprived of it under apartheid,” said Mollo. “However, it would be very cumbersome and involve a lot of bureaucracy if all our diplomats abroad had to vote in the municipal elections. It would interfere with our diplomatic work. During national elections, however, we are allowed to vote as those are very important. I think the best situation is just to allow the municipal elections to proceed so that South Africans can have their say in who runs their affairs locally.”

The Electoral Commission of South Africa said it expected to complete counting the votes by late Thursday.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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