Black Lawyers Association calls for smooth free and fair local government elections on 3 August 2016

The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) is a non-partisan and non-sectoral organisation. Members of BLA are members or supporters or sympathisers of different political organisations across the country. Therefore BLA, as an organisation, does not support or endorse any political organisation for the upcoming local government elections. We however, respect the rights of our members to openly support and endorse the political parties of their choice on their individual capacities.

We call on all our members to go out in big numbers and elect parties of their choice. Democratic elections are the corner stone for the success of a democratic state. It is through regular and programmed elections that, as a country, we will continue to maintain and protect our constitutional and democratic values.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is saddled with the mammoth task of organising elections which are to be certified as both free and fair. Free and fair elections is one of the most important principles of democracy. Free and fair elections are achieved, amongst others, when the election environment is conducive for all illegible participants to participate freely without fear of being prejudiced or victimised for exercising their constitutional right to elect a party or person of their choice. This environment is important during the course of the elections period starting from election campaign but most importantly on the date of elections.

We emphasise the need for free and fair elections for we know that elections alone are not sufficient to guarantee democracy. Elections in a democratic state are the pillar of democracy if conducted within the democratic precept as enshrined in the Constitution. Free and fair election does not only allow people to elect their leaders of choice. One of the most important virtues of free and fair elections is that the losing party accepts the validity of the process and results of the election. General acceptance of the election results increases the possibility of peace and tranquillity post the elections and endorses the legitimacy of the democratically elected leadership.

It is on this basis that a number of BLA members have joined hands with the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) to participate, as observers, on the 3 August 2016 elections, in polling stations throughout the country. This will ensure that elections are conducted in a free and fair environment.

We plead for peace and general tolerance of one another on the Election Day. We implore on all political parties and independent candidates contesting in these elections to observe and respect the election rules as set by the IEC in order for us to once more have credible elections. We also expect the voters and supporters of the candidates to subject themselves to the election laws. We call upon those who may feel aggrieved by the election process and / or results to address their objections or complaints through the Electoral Court.

Lutendo Benedict Sigogo
President: BLA
Tel: (015) 962 0712 – Cell: (082) 369 2017