A Pastoral Letter on the National and Provincial Elections

A Pastoral Letter on the National and Provincial Elections: 7 May 2014 Greetings to the People of KwaZulu-Natal:

Once again we have arrived at the time when the nation democratically elects both national and provincial leaders. This province has demonstrated discipline, self-control and peacefulness in previous elections – a much appreciated political maturity which we hope to see also in the elections of 7 May.

Call for peace: As we choose our national and provincial leaders, let us all respect our electoral system and processes by voting in a respectful, humble and peaceful manner and let us accept the outcome.

Word of appreciation: We appreciate the effort made and commitment shown as many people registered for these elections and we hope to see the overwhelming majority exercising their democratic right by casting their vote.

Why our votes are important: By voting we exercise our right to elect the leaders of our choice. By voting responsibly we contribute to deciding the type of leaders and governance we will have for the next five years. We therefore encourage all registered citizens in the province to participate in this historic 20th anniversary of our first democratic elections.

Statistics: KwaZulu-Natal has 4 746 voting stations of which 128 have been classified as being in high risk areas where there will be both stationed and roving national and international observers.

Dates: Voting starts at 07h00 and ends at 21h00 on 7 May 2014. Dates for special votes for those who applied to vote early, are 5 and 6 May 2014.

Steps taken by the KZNCC and the KwaZulu Natal Election and Democracy Forum to ensure peaceful elections:

The KZNCC and the KZNDEF organised special peace building workshops in identified hotspots; we are recruiting and deploying 550 domestic observers to selected voting stations; we will be collaborating with 50 international guests in observing the election processes; and we will deploy a number of religious and community leaders as mediators where conflict arises. All involved in these forms of support for peaceful, free and fair elections will be trained on such key aspects of democratic elections as: special votes, polling, the SA electoral laws, the electoral code of conduct, as well as how to observe and report on elections. They will be encouraged to conduct their duties peacefully as they observe the electoral process.

May the Lord’s peace, blessings and guidance be on us all as we make historic decisions at polling stations.