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SA Organisations

Join our Election Monitoring team

  • Jeff
For the 2014 national and provincial elections, the SAJBD put together South Africa’s first interfaith and multinational election observer team to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on polling day.
by JEFF KATZ | Jun 15, 2016

Our team comprised nearly 100 volunteers from across the religious, ethnic and national spectrum, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, British and Australian citizens and Zimbabwean and Congolese refugees. Officially accredited by the IEC, it monitored events at over 250 voting stations in five cities and across three provinces, supervising the delivery of ballot boxes, the opening of the polls, helping to resolve problems at polling stations and ensuring that the polls were closed and that counting began on time.

From various points of view, our Election Monitoring initiative was a significant success. In practical terms, it provided a vehicle through which members of the public wishing to contribute to the election process could do so.

Their participation in turn helped the IEC to fulfil its mandate of ensuring not only that the polling ran smoothly and efficiently, but was at all times both free and fair. Beyond this, it was an inspiring bridge-building experience, with South Africans of widely differing backgrounds coming together to contribute to our country’s democratic process.

For the upcoming municipal elections on August 3, the Board is again putting together an interfaith and multinational observer team and I encourage as many of our own community as possible to be part of it.

To do so, please send your full name as it appears in your ID book, contact details and ID number to alanabaranov@gmail.com. The closing date for applications for organisations to observe the elections is June 24, so all those interested in coming on board should do so as soon as possible.

 

Fighting hate

 

Last week, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JH&GC) met with the Mthakazi Liberation Front, an organisation which inter alia seeks to promote public awareness of the massacres carried out against the Matabele people in Zimbabwe during the 1980s.

The Board was instrumental in setting up the meeting.

Since its establishment, the JH&GC has played a vital role in educating the public, in particular high school learners, of the dangers of prejudice, whether based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or other such grounds, and of what the ultimate consequences of such prejudice is. It combines Holocaust education with teaching about other genocides, including those that have taken place in Africa.

Over the weekend, we received yet another painful reminder of what hatred of “the other” can lead to, with the murder of 49 people at a LGBT night club in Orlando, Florida.

While this atrocity, the worst mass shooting in American history, took place on another continent, it should serve to remind us of the ongoing and largely under-reported attacks taking place against members of the LBGT community in our own country.

We must never turn our heads against such hatred and intolerance and must stand up and oppose it with all our effort wherever and whenever it arises.

 

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9

 

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