South Africa: Code of Conduct for Accredited Observers

Updated July 2016

The IEC has issued regulations governing the accreditation of observers that include a Code of Conduct for Accredited Observers (Regulations on the Accreditation of Observers, 1999, Schedule B). In terms of the Regulations (Appendix 2) the accreditation of an observer is valid for a year, but is conditional on the observance of the code of conduct. The contents of the Code are given verbatim below:

Schedule B

1 Every accredited observer and person appointed by that observer must—

   1.1. Observe the election impartially and independently of any registered party or candidate contesting the election.

   1.2 Remain non-partisan and neutral.

   1.3 Be competent and professional in observing the election.

   1.4 Provide the Commission with a comprehensive review of the elections taking into account all relevant circumstances including—

      (a) the degree of impartiality shown by the Commission;
      (b) the degree of freedom of political parties to organise, move, assemble and express their views publicly;
      (c) the opportunity for political parties to have their agents observe all aspects of the electoral process;
      (d) the fairness of access for political parties to national media and other resources of the state;
      (e) the proper conduct of polling and counting of votes; and
      (f) any other issue that concerns the essential freedom and fairness of the election.

   1.5 Comply with all instructions given and every obligation imposed by—

      (a) the Commission;
      (b) any electoral officer; or
      (c) any employee or officer of the Commission; or
      (d) a member of the security services acting on the instructions of an officer.

2 The accredited observer and any person appointed by that observer should—

   2.1 Avoid doing anything that would indicate or be seen as indicating partisan support for a candidate or registered party.

   2.2 Act in a strictly neutral and unbiased manner.

   2.3 Disclose to the Commission any relationship that could lead to conflict of interest regarding the performance of their duties as observers or with the process of observation or assessment of the election.

   2.4 Not accept any gifts or favour from a political party, organisation or person involved in the election process.

   2.5 Not participate in any function or activity that could lead to a perception of sympathy for a particular candidate or political party.

   2.6 Not express a view or opinion on any matter which is the subject of electoral campaigning.

   2.7 Not influence or attempt to influence the choice of a voter regarding any registered party or candidate in an election.

   2.8 Not wear, carry, or display any registered party's symbols or colours.


REGULATIONS ON THE ACCREDITATION OF OBSERVERS, 1999, [www] [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 30 Mar 2011).