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Commonwealth observers to the South African elections



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NEW S RELEASE M IN IS T E R FOR FO R EIG N AFFAIRS SENATOR G A R ETH EVANS

M16 24 February 1994

COMMONWEALTH OBSERVERS TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN ELECTIONS

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Gareth Evans, today announced the names of the Australians selected by the Commonwealth Secretary-General to participate in the Commonwealth Observer Group to the South African elections (COGSA).

They are the former Victorian Premier, John Cain, the former Leader of the Australian Democrats, Janine Haines, the Opposition frontbencher, Philip Ruddock MP, the Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Professor Duncan Chappell, and the Australian Electoral Commissioner, Brian Cox.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will comprise about 50 members drawn from across the Commonwealth. They will be in South Africa from the second week of April until the elections, scheduled for 26-28 April.

Senator Evans said the Australians selected would bring a wealth of experience and talent to the Commonwealth Observer Group. "They represent a broad range of political opinion and technical expertise and reflect the long standing consensus in Australia against apartheid".

"As well as providing members to the Commonwealth Observer Group, Australia will contribute around $A250,000 to the Group's operations," Senator Evans said.

"Australia has played a prominent role in the development of Commonwealth policy on South Africa over many years. Australia was a member of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Committee on South Africa and in 1993 contributed personnel to the Commonwealth Observer Mission in South Africa (COMSA) which has been working with local authorities there to try to reduce political violence."

Senator Evans said Australia was contributing substantially to assistance with the transition to democracy in South Africa. In addition to membership of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Australia will also be participating in the United Nations Observer Mission to South Africa and, through the Commonwealth, will

provide technical assistance to the South African Independent Electoral Commission. Seven officers of the Australian Electoral Commission will assist the Commonwealth and the United Nations missions over the election period. Australia will also fund a program of voter education under the auspices of the University of the Western Cape.

CANBERRA