The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum (PF) will not have delegates observing the South African election next month due to shortage of funds.
According to a press release by Parliament public relations unit the decision was made because the SADC PF failed to cater for secretarial costs relating to Members of Parliament (MP) and forum staff travel, hiring of vehicles, conference venue and interpreters and translators.
National Parliaments only pay for the participation of their MPs and staff members in the SADC PF election observation missions and all other costs are taken care of by the SADC PF through resource mobilisation.
“SADC PF has unfortunately failed to mobilise the requisite funds which resulted in the cancellation of the mission,” reads the statement. The sudden decision comes after President Ian Khama denied the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margaret Nasha permission to be part of the SADC delegation that will be observing elections in South Africa.
Botswana has also decided not to participate in any SADC observer missions after raising concerns about compliance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. However according to the statement, the cancellation affects all delegations of all SADC member parliaments and was not motivated by Botswana’s decision. The cancelation will however not affect the observation mission to Malawi to which Botswana parliament will send two MPs as observers.