IEC says nothing wrong with meeting US Ambassador before May elections

US Ambassador Reuben Brigety met with IEC top officials recently to discuss preparations around the May elections.

US Ambassador Reuben Brigety met with IEC top officials recently to discuss preparations around the May elections.

Published May 1, 2024


The Electoral Commission of South Africa says there is nothing wrong with meeting with US Ambassador Reuben Brigety just weeks before the May 29 elections.

The IEC’s top officials met with Brigety in Pretoria this week, drawing criticism from some circles that the US was apparently influencing the outcome of the polls.

The IEC says it has also met with European Union and Latin American ambassadors on the same basis to assure them they were holding credible elections.

Brigety is of course no stranger to controversy in Pretoria after he made damning allegations against South Africa when he accused the country of secretly sponsoring arms to Russia on the Lady R vessel amid the war in Ukraine.

The allegations were found to be false after President Cyril Ramaphosa instituted a high-level panel to probe the allegations.

The Democratic Alliance was also recently criticised heavily when it wrote a letter appealing to the US Secretary of State to be election observers in the May elections.

Former ANC MP Tony Yengeni was one of those who was not happy with Brigety meeting with the IEC.

“The IEC needs to explain this meeting with the US ambassador. What was it about? Why meet a US govt official 30 days before our elections..?”

Former PAC leader Letlapa Mphahlele also weighed in: “US Ambassador yesterday had a meeting with the IEC. Anyone who thinks the USA supports democracy must have his/her head examined.

“The USA has overthrown countless democratically elected leaders across the globe, eg. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Salvador Allende of Chile”.

— Tornado..Veteran 102 (@tyengeni1954) April 30, 2024

The IEC later clarified on Tuesday that there was nothing amiss about meeting with the ambassador, saying: “The Electoral Commission meets with diplomats as a matter of course ahead of general elections.

“We have recently met with ambassadors from the EU, Latin America and the US. We will soon be meeting with the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps and a full diplomatic session of Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) to be attended by all accredited ambassadors.

“Our readiness for the SA elections 2024 is the topic of all such meeting discussions, similar to that of the recent oversight visit by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on 26 April,” said the IEC.

Civil society organization Democracy in Action, through its chairperson Thabo Mtshweni, reportedly told EWN it wants answers from the IEC, including claims the US government is funding SA’s elections.

The commission said it was focused on ensuring election materials were distributed timeously overseas and locally for the 2024 elections.

Meanwhile, Clayson Monyela, the head of public diplomacy and spokesperson at the DIRCO, said it was normal for the IEC to meet with diplomats.

“They have already engaged EU diplomats & will meet the Dean of African Diplomats.

“DIRCO is convening a meeting of the Diplomatic Corps for a briefing by the IEC on the state of readiness for 29 May elections (standard practice). Throw the conspiracy theories away,” he said on X.

— Clayson Monyela (@ClaysonMonyela) April 30, 2024

Mzansi will vote on May 29, with over 27 million South Africans registered to vote for this election.