/ 12 March 2009

Zuma: Elections will be peaceful

The April elections will take place as peacefully as previous ones, says African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma.

”We have no worries about the elections as we know that they will take place as peacefully as the previous ones since 1994,” Zuma told foreign diplomats in Pretoria on Wednesday.

This was according to notes released by the ANC on Thursday, following the closed meeting.

”The tensions on the ground in some provinces are manageable. Political parties will be able to find solutions, working with the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission],” the ANC quoted him as saying.

According to Zuma, the country was going through ”a very robust election period”.

Earlier on Wednesday Zuma signed the Independent Electoral Commission’s code of conduct for political parties contesting the April 22 elections.

He said the ANC was very pleased with the way the election campaign was going.

”I met with the president of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, recently, and we agreed to work together to ensure peace and stability especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

”Our leaders on the ground have already met and have worked out mechanisms of ensuring the implementation of our agreement.”

He told diplomats that the international community could rest assured that South Africa had come of age since 1994.

”Our democratic institutions are growing stronger each day, and our Constitution continues to guide us on the way forward.”

Zuma reportedly said that the ANC was serious about fighting corruption and that the ANC would build ”constructive working relationships” with the opposition in Parliament.

Turning to the global economic crisis, he said South Africa, like the rest of the world, would feel the effects of the global economic crisis. The country’s reliance on income from commodity exports would be particularly hard hit.

Following recent meetings with business and labour, the ANC was confident the country’s regulatory systems would help it weather the storm.

”The focus of the South African Reserve Bank, coupled with the Credit Act, created an environment that forced discipline in terms of the loan books in our banking institutions.”

Zuma said the ANC expected a smooth transition from the current administration to the next one. — Sapa