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Ramaphosa accuses DA of ‘almost mortgaging’ SA to the West

Ramaphosa accuses DA of ‘almost mortgaging’ SA to the West
From left: President Cyril Ramaphosa | Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen. | (Photos: Siyabulela Duda / Gallo Images / OJ Koloti / Gallo Images / Deaan Vivier)

The ANC says the DA wants to hand SA’s sovereignty to the West on a silver platter while the DA says it asked the G7 governments, the EU and four Nordic states to support civil society election observers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has lambasted the DA’s appeal to Western governments for help in monitoring the 29 May elections as “almost trying to mortgage our country to other powers in the world”. And the ANC said South Africa would not allow its sovereignty to be “handed over on a silver platter” to Western powers.

They were reacting strongly to the DA writing to the foreign ministers of the G7 countries, the European Union and four Nordic states, requesting their help in monitoring the elections, which the DA said could be under threat both domestically and internationally because the ANC was likely to fall below 50% nationally and lose more provinces.

The letter, written by the DA’s international relations spokesperson, Emma Powell, warns that “as the ruling elite grow more desperate to retain electoral support ahead of the upcoming elections, they may be willing to put their narrow political interests ahead of our country’s broader interests and sacred constitutional values”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

However, Powell explained to Daily Maverick that the DA did not believe the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) would try to steal the elections. She said opposition parties might not have the staff to monitor all 23,500 voting stations across the country, which could lead to interference. She cited the MK party of former president Jacob Zuma as a particular concern.

Read more in Daily Maverick: DA urges Western governments to help counter threats to 29 May polls

The DA asked the G7 governments — the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Italy and Canada — as well as the EU and Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark for support with election observers, voter education and setting up a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) system. A PVT would count the votes separately from the IEC to check for any irregularities.

Powell noted that the DA was calling on the foreign governments to support local civil society election observers rather than sending their own election observation missions.

The DA has decried the SA government’s policy of allowing each foreign embassy to deploy a maximum of only two diplomats to observe the elections, whereas in the past they were allowed to deploy many more.

‘Mortgaging democracy’

Despite Powell’s qualifications, Ramaphosa and the ANC came close to accusing the DA of treason. On Sunday, Ramaphosa told reporters on the campaign trail that the DA letter was “very disingenuous and it is almost trying to mortgage our country to other powers in the world.

“We have our regional organisations. We have SADC. We have the African Union. And indeed we have the United Nations as well. They always come to monitor our elections. In fact, we invite them. We say, ‘Do come and monitor.’ But now for a non-state entity like that is basically saying we are mortgaging our democracy to other powers.

“It doesn’t matter to me who those are. We deal with regional organisations, continental organisations and global organisations. And we invite them. So we think it’s quite disingenuous and there seems to be another agenda that underpins that.”

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told Russian RT television that it was “unbelievable” for an opposition party to undermine existing institutions that had been set up to enable free and fair elections under the leadership of the IEC, “which is renowned worldwide for running successful elections since the dawn of democracy.

“No South African will allow a situation where our sovereignty is handed over on a silver platter.”

She suggested that the DA’s initiative might be appropriate in a failed state. However, SA was not a failed state “but a robust and resilient state”.

She presented the DA’s letter as evidence of the ANC’s earlier warning that there would be an attempt by foreign powers at regime change because of the government’s strong support for Palestine. She added that the ANC was comfortable that the country had the institutions to safeguard its sovereignty

Bhengu-Motsiri said this was happening at a time when the DA was “pushing for a separate state” in the Western Cape through the “Western Cape Powers Bill” in the Western Cape legislature which called for the devolution of certain powers to the province. She said this included the Western Cape being given the right to set its international policy.

“They are saying they need to be given powers to pursue their own version of international relations. This separatist party is hell-bent on maintaining white minority rule in South Africa,” she added.

The Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill aims, according to its preamble, for further powers to be delegated by the national government to the Western Cape government because it says the national government is failing to deliver all the services due to Western Cape residents, thereby depriving them of their constitutional rights.

The Bill does not, however, specify that these delegated powers should include the power of the Western Cape to set its own broad foreign policy. But it does mention trade — “including international trade” — as well as policing, public transport, energy and harbours as functions where powers ought to be devolved to the provincial government. DM

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  • Gary De Sousa says:

    So him selling to the east and russia and south america is better?

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    Disturbingly this is not the first time the DA approaches international countries presenting national interest whilst they are not in government or hold a national government office.
    This an indication that their proposal for a federal government will create chaos and an unnecessary overreach.
    The DA can be confidently viewed as the one party that can do good things for this country and the time is right for them to grab the opportunity, stunts like their contradicting response to Ukraine and Palestine, the lack of respect for the powers of an elected government and chasing valueless cadre deployment policies which they themselves are not immune from, can amount to devastating own goals.

    • D Rod says:

      Well spoken. DA should have a laser focus on reaching out non-traditional DA voters instead of meddling in things they should really not do, like Ukraine and Palestine. For either of those, the picture is far less cleat than what west or east mainstream media presents… Waste of resources and great chance on being on wrong side of history….

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      If you think the IEC is independent, you’re delusional. The DA is perfectly within its rights to ask for monitor assistance from credible independent entities. What Ramaphosa should have said is “they’re welcome – we have nothing to hide”. Just have a look at how he reacted instead.

      • Bob Dubery says:

        I think the IEC is credible, but that doesn’t mean that our elections won’t be meddled with. Both the DA and the President have raised the possibility of outside interference. This is not that far fetched. There are organisations that look for out for the hand of AI and deep fakes, and it would do no harm to ask a couple of those to watch what is being disseminated in South Africa. I’ve already seen some not entirely convincing videos of Julius Malema “saying” things that are inflammatory even by his standards. And there were the “no whites” signs that went up at a University to discredit the EFF controlled SRC but turned out to have been planted by Afriforum.

        Not that I expect the DA to be concerned about Afriforum, an organisation with a track record of spreading propaganda overseas. There’s a bit of a toenadering between the two organisations.

        More credible is the possibility of candidates meeting unfortunate ends, or being scared into withdrawing. Too many councillors have already been murdered, which is a crude but effective way of discouraging participation. So we need to be sure that such intimidation – which would not be the work of the IEC – is discouraged and/or exposed as much as possible.

        I think the DA have a bit of case, have overegged the cake a bit, and are probably not thinking about interference from organisations they are on good terms with.

  • Kevin Venter says:

    The walking contradiction that is the ANC would sooner Mortgage South Africa to China and Russia, both countries with sterling human rights records and definitely no corrupt dealing there whatsoever.

    Always talking, always finger pointing instead of actually doing something and accepting responsibility for the state that the country is in.

  • Jacques Otto says:

    To be fair, looking at our finances, safety and security, health, job creation and corruption we are a failed state. Ramaphosa makes it a east vs west thing. The article even mentions an interview with Russian TV. Why should the ANC be reporting on Russian TV. Asking the West to oversea the election is a not a crime. We cant sell our sovereignty when its already been sold to BRICS powers.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      Tell me, is RT still available in SA…. I gave up on Dstv some years back.

      • Greeff Kotzé says:

        It dropped off DStv in 2022 due to EU sanctions (the Intelsat uplink is in the EU). Then it reappeared on StarSat for nine months, before once again being dropped due to EU sanctions (the SES-5 uplink StarSat used is also based in the EU). Google blocked them on YouTube, and Ofcom in the UK also stripped RT of its license there, because of “neutrality issues”.

        But, RT told News24 in July, “We are indeed currently focused on developing our English-language Africa hub in South Africa, headed up by Paula Slier – a South Africa native, RT’s longtime correspondent and formerly head of RT’s Jerusalem bureau”.

        So it seems they are hell-bent in making it back to our screens. They’re still currently available in SA for streaming on Rumble and their website operates as an online newspaper.

      • D Rod says:

        You can access it via Internet (unlike in EU where is banned – so much for democracy… ). I often read both BBC and RT to try to see the both sides of the story. To be honest, seems that RT is more measured and accurate than BBC.

        • John P says:

          RT is completely one sided pro Putin propaganda and based on your comment they are winning people over. If you want balance to the BBC there is DW, The Guardian, CNN, NBC, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, France 24 and many more.

          • D Rod says:

            And BBC is not one-sided? Really?!?

            Of all of these that you mentioned, Al Jazeera is probably the best. But seriously, Bloomberg and CNN?

            But I guess, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I tend to look at both sides before forming my own.

          • John P says:

            @ D rod – my point was that there are a lot of alternative news channels to just the BBC. It is up to the reader/viewer to look for all the different sides to a story.
            There are also pure propaganda news channels such as RT or Fox, nothing they produce has, at best, more than a kernel of fact to begin with.

          • D Rod says:

            @John P At least, we are discussing it in a civil manner. The whole world is so messed up that all traditional categories are not applicable anymore. I consider myself a classic liberal and it hurts me to the core of my being that I hope that Trump will win, as he is the most pragmatic of all leaders. The rest is happily feeding military industrial complex and they will gladly push is to WW3 for their own profits. Have a great day and all the best!

  • Dr Know says:

    “She suggested that the DA’s initiative might be appropriate in a failed state.” Spot on, good call. Totally appropriate. And why are we hanging our dirty washing on Russian TV anyway?

  • EK SÊ says:

    Throughout history, election fraud by old liberation “burnouts” is the norm rather than the exception.

  • A B says:

    Remember when the ANC pandered to the west to end white rule. Same thing here. Stop crying. You racist marxists destroyed the country with your corruption and racism.. Consequences are coming

  • Just Me says:

    With the ANC doing absolutely nothing about corruption, and weaponizing the IEC and the List System of governance, the DA has nowhere to turn but to the international community for transparency.

    Instead of moaning about the DA and their quest for transparency the ANC should stick to its pledge to keep known corrupt cadres and criminals off their voter list, which should be instantly made public the moment they are submitted to the IEC.

    That the IEC is claiming a leak of the ANC’s list, which is full of corrupt scoundrels, is ludicrous. This is part of the requisite transparency for democracy in the system we currently have, the dreaded list system , which needs to change to where we get to vote for a person and not a party.

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    Makes you wonder why the outrage, anc must have lots to hide during election time.

  • Jean Racine says:

    On the one hand Powell and the DA claim they are such an electoral threat, cheating can’t be discounted; on the other they are so small they can’t send party agents to all 23 500 voting stations!
    No wonder the West ignored their first letter. But the diplomatic neophytes don’t get the hint, double down and send another!
    Amateur hour all around!

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Mr president, look at the three fingers pointing at yourself and the ANC. we are failed state no matter what is stated to justify otherwise.

  • Salome Byleveldt says:

    A lot of very emotional responses from the ANC. Almost excessive. Why?
    And the IEC can surely do with assistance – they sprung a serious info leak within an hour of the list closures.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Mahlengi really is a very poor spokesperson…..better she stay silent

  • Casey Ryder says:

    The track record of liberation parties when their grip on power is first threatened is consistent- efforts aimed at electoral manipulation are pretty much guaranteed to occur. Anything that can be done to guard against this, should be done.

  • André Pelser says:

    A stupid move by the DA, the response predictable.

    • James Webster says:

      Not as stupid as the incessant criticism of the DA which is only trying to provide integrity based leadership. If you support the DA, then stop criticising it and contributing the negative tropes circulated by its corrupt and dishonest opponents.

      • André Pelser says:

        You miss the point James, which was about a DA politician calling for US involvement in our election monitoring – nothing to do with the “Integrity based leadership”.
        Why don’t you justify the the call, instead of seeing every disagreement with DA actions as “contributing to negative tropes” and “incessant criticism”?

  • Esskay Esskay says:

    Too late, Russia and Iran already hold the mortgage.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    “Types of Election Rigging in Africa
    Voter suppression:
    Ballot stuffing:
    Intimidation:
    Tampering with election results
    Vote buying:

    These forms of election rigging are often used in combination with each other, making it even more difficult to ensure free and fair elections. In order to prevent election rigging, it is essential to have strong institutions and laws in place, as well as a commitment to transparency and accountability from all parties involved in the electoral process.
    Election rigging has been a long-standing problem in African politics, with many leaders seeking to maintain their grip on power through illegitimate means. Several African countries have witnessed numerous cases of election rigging, including Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. Weak institutions, corruption, ethnic and religious tensions, and lack of transparency in the electoral process contribute to election rigging.”
    We are part of Africa aren’t we so this applies.
    That is why a commitment to transparency and accountability includes truly independent observers.
    For this I would want countries from the top 10 least perceived corrupt countries rather than just pleading for USA and UK.

  • Confucious Says says:

    Ramaphosa disappoints at every opportunity! Even if it were true, it would be better to almost mortgage SA to the West than definitely sell it to India, China and Russia as he and his party have already done!

  • Rae Earl says:

    Ramaphsa’s out burst against the DA’s calling for independent election observers borders on hysterical. Has the ANC got things in place with the IEC to such an extent that they’re now shitting themselves because observers from the West are more than capable of uncovering any cheating in the elections? They should be welcoming observers as maybe other parties have skewed plans of their own.

  • Vusi Dladla says:

    This time, he is right.

  • William Dryden says:

    The DA was right in approaching Western countries to help monitor the election, I wouldn’t trust the ANC as far as I could see them, they will attempt to steal the election by any way they can.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    But Ramaphosa and the ANC has mortgaged DA to Russia and Hamas!!

  • Wayne Holt says:

    And when the ANC sent observers to the Zimbabwe elections they pronounced them free and fair!! Bwhaha So what is the problem now? The more transparent the better or not???

    • Skinyela Skinyela says:

      Observers are not sent by political parties, not even by governments, but sent by NGOs and multilaleral organisations like the United Nations, African Union, European Union, OECD, Commonwealth, SADC, etc.

  • Stef Viljoen Viljoen says:

    Jaaaa boet, politicians. Pots calling their brethren black.

  • John Kuhl says:

    its time people realise that politics on this continent is NOT played along western democratic rules and methods……..stop trying to force western style of thought lines on these people…..its not part of their reference framework and is seen as the way of the opresor…..

  • Michael Clark says:

    Any confidence I had in the cadre deployed management of the IEC from the CEO down is rapidly being eroded. The ANC is a criminal syndicate masquerading as political party, it openly lies to the people via parliament, says the ANC comes first and the country second, not forgetting , Jacob, Ace and Malama all said that they wont allow rigging in this election! Or am I over reacting?

  • James P says:

    Here comes the paranoid Mugabe style Zimbabwe claptrap from the intellectually and morally bankrupt crime syndicate that masquerades as a government. How they managed to wreck the joint with such ease is as astounding as it is tragic. Only vote riggers would be unwelcoming to observers from outside of their axis-of-evil alliance.

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    There are always international observers in our elections since 1994 , from all over the world, you got observer missions from the SADC, AU, COMMONWEALTH, EU, OECD,
    UN, etc. They apply to the IEC for accreditation, they add to /compliment party agents so that we have independent eyes not only inside the polling stations, but also
    outside in order to ensure a free and fair election.

    You can check the IEC website even NOW and you will see an invite for applications. No country, including the USA itself, allows another government to come and observe its
    elections. That job is done by independent non-state organs. The noise about possible rigging of the upcoming elections comes from the quarters who wants to build a
    narrative that if they lose the election then it was rigged, it’ll only be free and fair if they are the winners.

    The irony is asking USA of all countries as if their Electoral system and how it is implemented is the best under the sun. A country where each of the 50 states has its own Electoral
    system, is rife with gerrymandering, uses an Electoral college where you may win the popular vote and still lose the elections, many disputes that ended up in courts… To this day
    Hillary Clinton and her supporters still believe that Trump was helped by outsiders, Trump still believes that Biden did not win and is an illegitimate president, and the Al
    Gore v Bush matter is still very fresh.

  • Richard Blake says:

    The ANC has captured every state institution with cadres. Even the judiciary is compromised so how can we believe that the IEC is clean. The UK and US government warned that Russia had in the past tried to influence elections in SA.

  • Citizen X says:

    Already pimped out, leased and sold to the global bidders, Guptas from India, our UAE “Dubai” so called comrades who continue to harbour the main actors of money laundering, etolls Austrian company, Chinese rail company for the defective over-priced locos, over priced Eskom power plants built by a number of overseas players be they French, Japanese or otherwise and the list goes on… All orchestrated by Chancellor House cadres.
    There is nothing left to pimp except the soles left on our shoes assuming most of us have shoes left.
    I do not see an issue with having more observers we should be welcoming this opportunity. It will only honor the citizens of this country with more comfort of a free and fair election and can really do no harm!! We should also ask for security intelligence assistance in the event of a threat of disruption e.g. as promised by the MK party of bandits. Citizens of this country cannot be held hostage by corrupt, thieving incompetents and criminals any longer and the elections bel9ngs to us.
    Cyril get off your high horse, you should know better and do the right thing for once, for ALL citizens and welcome in more observers!!!
    Unless… you hiding more than the USD hidden in your Pala Pala couch?
    And I am not a DA supporter, never mind their agenda it may just backfire. But it certainly can do no harm.

  • William Kelly says:

    lol – last time I looked the ANC has already sold the country. What is our national debt at the moment? And our repayments on it suck up how much of our budget? Actually, never mind CR, it will not be your problem to solve – your only issue is how to distribute the money you ‘borrowed’ from our children amongst your cadres.

  • Johan Buys says:

    The ANC believes we should rather get our BRICS+ buddies to oversee the elections. The autocratic fascists Russia, China, Iran, Saudi and India are very experienced in ensuring election outcomes that their regimes prefer.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    To be fair, it would be a 2nd or 3rd mortgage at best by now!

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