Edition 4,1994: Fraud, Failure and Farce - An Analysis of South Africa's Election 1994

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The South African elections have been plagued with widespread fraud, corruption, confusion and chaos. While much of the chaos was no doubt due to the sheer incompetence and laziness of many of the overpaid IEC officials - was much of the confusion by design? Vladimir Lenin advocated "constructive chaos" to advance the communist cause. Could it be that his present day disciples purposefully and systematically aggravated the chaos in order to facilitate fraud, multiple voting and the switching of ballot boxes?

In the run up to the election, members of United Christian Action were heavily involved in voter education. UCA pioneered the concept of a Biblical Issues Voters Guide in South Africa. First in the March 1992 referendum. Then in this April 1994 election. Several other ministries followed UCA's example and produced their own surveys. UCA's Biblical Issues Voters Guide were reprinted until over a million copies in English and Afrikaans were circulating around South Africa.

Through our newsletter, in newspaper adverts and letter columns, at seminars and public meetings, through literature distribution and radio interviews UCA clearly presented the Biblical principles for government and compared the platforms of the various political parties on the Biblical pro-life, moral and family issues. From the beginning the members of UCA monitored the election process. This report is a summary of our findings concerning the gross irregularities which affected the voting process. While acknowledging the herculean tasks competently undertaken by many fine volunteers, observers and employees of the IEC this report will focus on the unacceptable irregularities tolerated by others.

FRAUD

In Lebowa, where the ANC is dominant, Temporary Voter Identity Cards were sold and purchased for R50. The Department of Home Affairs was unable to cope with the number of FALSE APPLICATIONS. They caught persons as young as 14 years old applying. In some cases photographs were tampered with, in an extremely professional manner. Similar reports were received from the pro-ANC homelands of Transkei and Venda. The Lebowa situation was aggravated by the strike action by the territory's 30 000 civil servants who were demanding salary increases. This chaos led to even essential services grinding to a halt and matters relating to the election were chaotic. (South Africa News Information Service, 22 April 94)

In the general confusion, Temporary Voter Identity Cards (TVIC) could be gained with comparable ease, entitling the holders to vote. Although references were required, in many cases the necessary checks were abandoned under sheer weight of deadlines. In many cases the issuing offices could not handle the huge demand and were unable to check out all applicants.

Large numbers of Mozambican, and to a lesser degree Botswanan and Namibian, refugees and migrant workers applied to vote. In many cases false papers were printed for them. Indeed the government acknowledged that at least one of the computer systems used to produce TVIC's wasstolen from the

  • Department of Home Affairs office in Johannesburg in late February. Each machine could produce a voter card every three minutes. Official sources in Natal also indicate that false applicants, some as young as 14 but claiming to be 20, were discovered. (SANIS, 22 April 94)
     
  • The ANC had insisted upon certain ELECTION PROCEDURES WHICH FACILITATED FRAUD, including:

- that no voters roll was used.
- a variety of identity documents could be used including ID books, passports, and special Temporary Voter Identification Cards (TVIC).
- the election was to be over 3 days (later extended to 4 days in some areas)
- no regard should be taken of the voter's place of residence (this enabled pro-ANC Transkei to bus in large numbers of voters into the Western Cape and KwaZulu/Natal where ANC support was slim)
- the only safeguard against fraud was the fluid (visible under ultra violet light) with which voter's hands were marked. If a method could be found to remove this fluid then there was nothing to stop a voter voting once with his ID document and again with his TVIC. Or even repeatedly if he had several TVIC documents.
- Invisible ink not foolproof: Having heard reports that the invisible ink can be neutralised with hairspray, some observers tested it on themselves and found by using V05 hair spray the invisible ink could not be detected 24 hours later under the UV light.

  • On 21 April, the Citizen reported that the police had uncovered a MASSIVE FRAUD OPERATION at Lancet Hall, Jeppe Steet, Johannesburg - which houses the regional headquarters of the ANC. The Fraud Syndicate Unit of the SA Police found vast quantities of false identity documents, passports, birth certificates, application forms and receipts.
     
  • THE ABSENCE OF AN ELECTORIAL ROLL enabled the ANC to continue its systematic campaign to transport tens of thousands of voters into the Western Cape, particularly from the Transkei/Eastern Cape. The Western Cape remained politically marginal, with Coloured support continuing to give the National Party a slight edge. By SYSTEMATICALLY SHIPPING VOTERS into the area the ANC hoped to tip the balance in their favour in this crucial province. SA press reports also pointed to the use of official Transkei government vehicles in this programme.
     
  • The Independent Electorial Commission (IEC), the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) and the Government seemed either UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO PREVENT THESE IRREGULARITIES. To admit the problem would have been to question the validity of some of the provincial polls. As IEC Chairman, Judge Kriegler, readily admitted: 

"We're trying to run an election without a voter's roll. We don't know the number enfranchised in any particular place. Not only that, we're running an election without reliable demographic data, especially for the informal settlements (squatter camps). " (SA Financial Mail, 15 April 1994)

  • ILLITERATE PEOPLE DECEIVED BY MONITOR - On Tuesday, 26th April, in the Msinga district, at Pomeroy, there was a row which nearly resulted in a fight. This took place at the Catholic Mission Clinic. A Mr Khilmeet "VY who was working as a monitor at this voting station, was helping some of the elderly and sickly people with voting. However, the people noticed that he was not putting the cross where they had asked him to. He was also telling the voters to leave the voting station after giving them only one ballot paper. A big row ensued, and Mr Khilmeet had to run for his life, fleeing from the angry voters. A local businessman, Mr Cassim, came into the voting station and helped restore order. (CFT Monitor report 26 April)
     
  • In Port Elizabeth several INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION OFFICIALSwere CAUGHT by a police officer with their hands in opened ballot boxes. Police spokesman Colonel Chris Maritz said boxes from 16 polling stations were being taken to the official collection centre when police accompanying the IEC officials were asked to stop at the K K Nkwanda Church hall after polling stations closed. The policemen were told to stay outside while the IEC members carried the boxes into the hall. When they had not emerged after 30 minutes a senior policeman entered. He found several ballot boxes open and IEC members were tampering with ballot papers. (The Argus 28/4/94).
     
  • In the Ixopo District at Sandanezwa, Mkhulise Hall (D3933) the BALLOT BOXES wereUNSEALED and had NO SERIAL NUMBERS. The officials gave the national ballot paper for both the national and regional votes. The Mjila school (D5917 under the Polela District) began voting at 15:30 Nkwezela (D3503) at 13:00. (CFT Monitor Report 27 April)
     
  • In the Mapumulo District at Ezithabeni (D3287) the Presiding Officer (PO) disappeared with the ballot papers and all the equipment before the voting began. He had still not returned. Many ballot boxes arrived at the Mapumulo strong-room with BROKEN SEALS or completely unsealed. The District Electorial Officer had been sealing some of them just before he put them into a safe instead of the boxes being sealed at the voting stations at the end of the day. At Mbitane (D3283) ballot boxes were not sealed despite requests that it be done. The D.E.O. of Mapumulo only sent the equipment to the voting stations this morning instead of having it prepared beforehand. Mogqumbi (D3282) and Thembeni (D3297) people were so upset with the late arrival of equipment that they forced their way into the voting station and the SAP had trouble controlling them. (CFT Monitor Report 27 April)
     
  • In the New Hanover District at Efaye (D3087) the ballot boxes could be opened up on the one side even though they had been sealed. The ballot boxes arrived with an IEC team from Mapumulo. (CFT Monitor Report 27 April)
     
  • UNAUTHORISED POLLING STATION: In the Kranskop District at Menyexwayo (Silver Stream) (D6197) a team arrived and set up a voting station close to the authorised one. They had brought no observers or security with them. Two observers arrived there and the P.O. was very reluctant to receive them. They noticed that some IFP stickers were stuck right over the NP area on the ballot papers, thus spoiling the ballot. Some Voting Officers were overheard telling voters to vote for the ANC. Their team left in the late afternoon with their ballot box and no security.(CFT Monitor Report 27 April)
     
  • A Cape Town businessman revealed that 900 000 BALLOT PAPERS had been "DUMPED" unattended at his storeroom near the airport the day before polling started on Tuesday. He said the boxes arrived in trucks from two well-known transport companies on Monday night. He had been told they contained IEC "material" and had been asked to store them. He said he reluctantly agreed but felt uneasy and was astounded to discover later that the boxes contained ballot papers. 

"I telephoned the police and the IEC telling them to come and remove them. Overseas ballot papers are guarded like gold in Fort Knox, " he said. "The police and I counted the boxes and discovered there were 900 000 ballot papers in them. "

  • The boxes were later moved under police scrutiny to a second security company. The man told the Cape Times he had since received an anonymous death threat. IEC spokeswoman Ms Ina van der Linde said last night "we are re-organising the distribution of ballot papers". She added that "serious misplacement (of ballot papers) had taken place. " IEC chairman Judge Kriegler admitted that there had been massive disappearance of millions of ballot papers. (The Cape Times 28/4/94)
     
  • ANC DOMINATES THE IEC: Noted author RW Johnson wrote for the Times of Londonthe following report: The ANC's "sharp" practices in obscure parts of KwaZulu/Natal could have greater consequences for SA's long-term stability than the bombing campaign. The ANC had managed to push its own supporters as presiding officers in polling stations throughout the province. These people had the power to appoint other electorial officers and agents. Inevitably, this patronage is parcelled out among the presiding officer's family and political cronies ... thus one polling station after another in the IFP's greatest stronghold is staffed with monolithic sets of well-known ANC activists.
     
  • Large numbers of IFP supporters were reported to have said they were too afraid to vote as their enemies controlled the election arrangements and could mark them for retribution. The people were too frightened to vote, they believed the voting arrangements to be blatantly unfair - which they were - and if they do badly, they are not going to accept the result.
     
  • As early as 3 April, the London Sunday Times editorialised that SA's coming elections were an"ENORMOUS FRAUD", that there was "no way" that the elections "are, by any standard, going to be free and fair, " and the campaign was a "bloody mess ". The interim Constitution, for example, failed to adequately restrict the abuse of power by government.
     
  • An election report by an observer in East London stated that: 

"It was pandemonium! Some parties such as the PAC, ADM and ACDP who were by law allowed to have agents in each polling station, when they reported to their appointed places were told by the IEC officials that their services were no longer needed. As a result in some areas you found only ANC and NP officials appointed. In Mdantsane, ANC officials were actually in all the polling stations and flying their , flags in front of the polling stations. The ANC was transporting people from one station to another to vote. "

"There have been complaints that a ballot box used on Tuesday, 26th, the day for the special voting, was opened illegally and used again on Wednesday at a voting station in East London. A typical example of election irregularities was a complaint by the NP in Germiston, where the NP claimed voters had been induced to vote for the ANC at Fumana High School and Mpotsheng High School in Katlehong. "

"ANC/SACP comrades broke into polling booth stations and distributed voting papers to people in disregard of IEC officials. Some reports which were confirmed by other parties were that some unauthorised polling stations were created by ANC/SACP "

  • One of the most blatant examples of fraud in this election was that THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY (SACP) PARTICIPATED ILLEGALLY IN THE ELECTION.According to its own statements the SACP fielded 34 candidates on the ANC's list of their first 100 candidates. Yet the SACP had failed to register as a political party and so failed to comply with the Electorial Act.

Justice Hector McDonald, a retired judge in the Cape, was approached for legal opinion on this situation by the Aida Parker Newsletter. In Judge McDonald's written assessment he noted that:

The electorial alliance between the ANC and the SACP is "unconstitutional and unlawful". The continuation of the alliance at the time of the election "will render the election as a whole invalid”.

  • By failing to register as a participant in the election the SACP is in breach of Section 18 (i), Section 19 (i) and Section 22 (2) of the Electorial Act.
  • "The system of proportional representation renders it impossible for a voter to exercise his or her vote either fairly or freely if different political parties form an alliance and then stand for election under the banner or ticket of only one of the parties in the alliance."
  • There is no provision in the constitution "even remotely suggesting" that an alliance between a registered party (ANC) and an unregistered party (SACP) is permissible. Indeed the alliance is "light years away from any provisions in the constitution." (Aida Parker Newsletter April 1994)
  • No other movement has slaughtered so many millions of people or produced so many millions of refugees as the communists have. And yet the electorial victory of a party heavily infiltrated and controlled by communist revolutionaries has been widely hailed as "a victory for democracy"!As Thomas Sowell of the Arizona Republic (6 May 94) noted, this election marks - not "the beginning of a new era of freedom" but "simply a changing of the color of tyranny. "
     
  • National Party and Democratic Party observers objected to many ballot boxes filled with NEATLY STACKED BALLOTS. It is of course impossible for legitimate ballots to form neat stacks in a sealed ballot box.
     
  • The Freedom Front claimed that the election had been free and fair at only 20% of the polling stations. The General Secretary of the Freedom Front reported that children aged as young as 14 had voted with TVIC's. "It is clear that this was not a free and fair election. In the cities things went reasonably well, but in rural areas there was no question of a fair election. " In other cases the Freedom Front had evidence of voters arriving at polling booths with their HANDS BLEACHED WHITE. When questioned about this, they admitted that they had placed their hands in chemicals. Yet they were allowed to vote. "This election made a farce of democracy and will go down in history as the Kriegler fiasco, " he said. (The Citizen29/4/94)
     
  • The National Party Chief Organiser for Katlehong, Mr Dan Volakazi, signed an affidavit that IEC officials were guilty of "FRAUDULENT VOTING ON A GRAND SCALE and voters' ballot papers were opened and checked before they were placed in the ballot boxes". IEC officials were reportedly walking into the voting booths with the voters telling them of the necessity of voting for the ANC. Sometimes the IEC officers tried "TO FORCE HIM TO MAKE A CROSS IN THE ANC BLOCK".
     
  • The Inkatha Freedom Party on May 5th officially called for the SA police to investigate the "MASSIVE RIGGING OF VOTES at IEC headquarters… We have been given information by IEC officials that IEC head office officials had been rigging the results to the advantage of the ANC for an extended period, and that this electorial fraud was only halted after other IEC officials could no longer stomach the fraud". 

National Party officials confirmed that they had found sealed post office bags filled with thousands of used but uncounted ballot papers under a pile of rubbish designated to be dumped. Other unused ballots were strewn on the pavement outside and throughout the counting centre. Another official reported on "total chaos" at the NASREC counting centre. "There is official documentation lying everywhere. There is no chance that any kind of reconciliation can possibly take place. In fact, there has never been any inkling of reconciliation taking place." (The Citizen 6/5/94)

  • The IEC admitted on Thursday 4 May that a computer hacker had tampered with the commission's computer programs to progressively increase the number of votes for three parties at the expense of other parties. While acknowledging that the COMPUTER FRAUD had polluted the counting system the IEC still felt that the election was "substantially free and fair"_and refused to identify the parties concerned.

FAILURE

  • Thousands of polling stations failed to open on time for the first day of (Special) voting on Tuesday 26 April. After 8 - 10 hours of waiting, hungry, tired and angry pensioners were turned away from HUNDREDS OF POLLING STATIONS WHICH FAILED TO OPEN AT ALL.
     
  • Polling stations in the East Rand, Ciskei, Transkei, KwaZulu/Natal, the PWV region and Qwa Qwa were hit by severe delays on Wednesday 27. Thousands of polling stations reported having NO BALLOT PAPERS, NO IFP STICKERS, NO INK for marking voters' hands, NO STAMPS to put into identity documents or NO BALLOT BOXES. In other places there were NO BATTERIES to operate the ultra-violet lamps.
     
  • Voters complained of IEC inefficiency with many stations only opening late in the day and others closing after a few hours. Millions of voters stood in queues for 4 to 10 hours, either in the rain in the Western Cape or in the hot sun elsewhere in the country.
     
  • Many township residents in the Western and Eastern Cape complained that ANC marshals had woken them up as early as 3am to herd them to the polling stations. Most waited in the queues until late afternoon before they could vote.
     
  • Many millions of ballot papers were invalid because they were issued without the IFP sticker affixed.
     
  • Vast numbers of ballots were declared "spoiled papers " because the IEC wrongly affixed the IFP stickers so as to encroach on the NP box above. The IEC repeatedly stated that any intrusion of the IFP sticker into the NP box above would constitute a "spoiled paper" and be discounted.
     
  • The late arrival of ballot papers in the Cape Penninsula's black and coloured townships left voters angry and disappointed. In Khayelitsha, voters left at least eight disorganised polling stations in dismay and either went home or travelled 40km to vote in Cape Town.
     
  • In Port Elizabeth excitement was reduced to endurance as voters streamed to the polls, only to outnumber the ballot papers, boxes and ink. Many of the voters in the city waited in the sun for more than five hours before casting their ballots, while thousands more were sent home when supplies ran out.
     
  • In Mdantsane, Ciskei, angry voters broke down a polling station's doors when it shut after apparently running out of election supplies.
     
  • Official statements from the IEC often resembled a roller coaster as they released WIDELY DIVERGENT AND CONTRADICTORY STATISTICS. On Tuesday 3 May ballots nationally suddenly shot up by 3 million votes, but within 20 minutes the votes counted shrank by 2.75 million votes! On Monday 2 May the IEC reported 3/4 million spoilt ballots in the PWV region. But by Tuesday they had revised the spoilt ballot tally to 33 915. Whether their definitions of spoilt ballots had changed or whether they were "re-organising" the ballot figures was not clear. However IEC officials did announce that they were re-thinking, revising and revamping their counting rules! (The Citizen 4/5/94)
     
  • Many voters have been heard to comment that if this chaos is how the ANC and their friends run an election then there are serious implications as to how they'd run a country.
     
  • The Citizen (29/4/94) editorialised: "Instead of rejoicing over the new South Africa, we have arguments, rows and acrimony, we have hasty efforts to rectify bad polling arrangements that should never have occurred, and finally an extension of voting in six regions, with all the dangers of bussing people in from other areas to vote. We blame the IEC chairman, Mr Justice Kriegler, for the arrogant way in which he has handled the election, and we blame the IEC for having failed to prepare for all eventualities and for its palpable disorganisation. For R700 million, the country deserved to have a slick, well-run election. It didn't happen. Never has a country been let down so badly in such a crucial election as we have been. "

FARCE

If the consequences of South Africa's April 26-29th elections were not so serious then it would have made a hilarious script for a comedy of errors.

  • For the first time NON-CITIZENS COULD VOTE in this election! Citizens, foreigners with permanent residence permits and migrant workers on the mines were all granted the right to vote. The millions of illegal aliens, refugees and foreign squatters were also able to vote as background checks were abandoned and all applicants received Temporary Voter Identification Cards (TVIC). Much of the Voter Education was directed at the large percentage of illiterate people. It bodes ill for any democracy where the illiterate and foreign squatters are the decisive voting block.
     
  • Breaking with centuries of tradition and practice throughout the Western world - even many convicted CRIMINALS WERE ALLOWED TO VOTE FROM THEIR PRISON CELLS! This seemed appropriate however as many of the candidates were ex-terrorists, bombers, necklace murderers, kidnappers and child abusers.
     
  • Without any voters roll or even a record system - the voting went ahead. Even when there was no fluid with which to mark voters' hands, nor even ink with which to stamp their ID documents - the voting still went ahead. Even when there were no IFP stickers affixed to the ballots - the voting went ahead. Even when there were no sealed ballot boxes - the voting still continued.
     
  • The biggest farce of the elections was of course the campaign promises. The ANC promised'jobs, jobs, jobs", "peace", 'freedom" and "homes". However, their discredited economic system of Socialism has consistently failed to deliver any of those desirable commodities. Moreover the ANC themselves deprived millions of people of their jobs by aggressively promoting sanctions, disinvestment, boycotts and strikes. Their supporters have looted or burnt down thousands of homes, shops and factories. Time will show whether the extravagant promises will be fulfilled or not, but there are bound to be many disappointed and disillusioned voters when reality sets in.
     
  • The National Party campaign promises were also somewhat farcical. "Stop the Comrades - Vote NP" seemed particularly hypocritical as it was the NP who had declared communism to be dead, unbanned the ANC and SACP, released the terrorists from prison and resuscitated the communist cause in SA. The NP claim that only they were capable of being an effective opposition to the ANC was ludicrous. The NP had failed to effectively counter the ANC when they were the government. They even forbade the police from searching the ANC offices in Shell House after the massacre of Zulu marchers by ANC gunmen. How they expected to accomplish as an opposition what they could not achieve as a government remained anyone's guess.
     
  • On many occasions unsealed ballot boxes were transported. Often ballot boxes were stored without any police presence or security arrangements. Other ballot boxes were found abandoned or in taxis or even in candidates homes!
     
  • The election dates were originally chosen by the SACP so that the results could be announced on the most important date on the communist (and occultist) calender - the 1st of May (May Day). However widespread disorganization, confusion and inefficiency caused such delays that May Day passed with less than 20% of the votes having been counted.
     
  • For the first time in living memory a public holiday was declared for the main day of voting - Wednesday 27 April. After the chaotic shambles of that day the TEC declared Thursday 28th also a public holiday! Yet the announcement came so late in the day that many people travelled to work only to find their workplace closed. Other shops opened only to find no staff arrive. Confusion reigned.
     
  • Each additional public holiday cost South Africa another R500 million in lost production. Not to mention disruption of the education programmes at schools. Nevertheless the TEC announced that May 10 would also be a public holiday because of their intention to inaugurate the new state president on that date! A Cape Town Correspondent commented on 30 April: "The new South Africa is three days old and we have already had two holidays. Rumour has it that our new calenders will have the WORKING DAYS printed in red. "
     
  • The Presiding Officer of a polling station in Mdantsane arrived "extremely drunk and shouting at everybody” on the first day of voting. ----ateyerybody"
     
  • In Uitenhage residents cast their ballots into plastic bags while 300 unused ballot boxes stood empty at the IEC stores a few kilometres away.
  • At Maphopha residents waited in queues for 3 days before their ballots arrived and they were able to vote!
     
  • After delays in the vote counting process due to the widespread irregularities the IEC ABANDONED ANY ATTEMPTS TO RECONCILE THE VOTES and decided to go ahead with counting and announcing the unverified votes!
     
  • The Business Day front page article, "HORSE TRADING BY PARTIES WILL DECIDE RESULT", reported that the IEC chairman, Judge Kriegler, had admitted that the election results were being "manipulated to resolve political disputes and irregularities. " Judge Kriegler admitted that there would be fraud, "you can't work in a brothel and remain chaste"was how he described it. "Let's not get overly squeamish about it. They are in a power game... " Another IEC official declared that "We have vast powers... to make some adjustments." Another official was quoted as stating that it had been decided that despite all the fraud, chaos and irregularities “free and fair elections had to be declared come hell or high water." In its editorial the Business Day commented on the "massive electorial fraud" and"shambles" of the election and questioned the credibility of any declarations from the IEC. "We will soon have the farcical situation of an incompetently run IEC pronouncing on its own management of the election!... voters are likely to become increasingly sceptical" (Business Day 5/5/94)
     
  • Nevertheless IEC chairman, Justice Kriegler, characterised the 4 days of voting as an "OUTSTANDING SUCCESS". Nelson Mandela and foreign governments echoed similar sentiments. To describe the fraudulent chaotic mess as "a victory for democracy" seemed rather hypocritical for European governments. Not one nation in Europe would ever tolerate 1 % of the fraud and irregularities that pervaded this "election" in their own countries. Besides of which the ANC's victory was overwhelmingly A VICTORY FOR SANCTIONS, SUBVERSION, TERRORISM, INTIMIDATION AND FRAUD. Democracy had little to do with it.
     
  • Overseas observers varied from praising the process to expressing amazement at the colossal chaos. British commentator, Paul Johnson, of Spectator Magazine described the South African elections as "A PSEUDO-DEMOCRATIC FARCE", and that FW de Klerk had"engineered a suicidal leap into universal suffrage". Johnson wrote that it was amazing that"with the spectacle of tribal savagery provided by Rwanda-Burundi before everyone's eyes, South Africa, the last efficient and civilised country on the continent, should be about to launch itself on exactly the same suicidal trajectory ". Johnson concluded: "Well may the beloved country cry now. We outsiders can only sit back in anguish and wait for the horrors to emerge. And pray. If ever a country needs prayers, it is that delectable, cursed land of sinister doomed beauty. "

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE

The Psalmist asks the question: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3Well first of all we need to acknowledge that fraud makes an unacceptable foundation for the future. "The Lord is righteous, He loves justice... “ Psalm 11:7

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

The first all-race elections for a government of national unity should have built upon a legitimate foundation. Ignoring or whitewashing the IEC's monumental failure and the widespread fraud only undermines the credibility of the entire process. Failing to provide a truly free, fair and honest election places a massive question mark over the authority of our present government. One can understand the impatience of many for an end to the political bickering but to allow such a fraud to pass unpunished would be to reward fraud with political positions of power and privilege. If declaring the elections null and void seems unacceptable then an alternative could be to "fine" offending parties 10 000 votes for each incident of fraud or irregularities involving their supporters. However, while recognising the weaknesses and wickedness of our recent past we need to deal with the present reality and work for a better future. "Where there is no vision a people perish... " Proverbs 29:18.

We need to understand the times and know what we should do (1 Chronicles 12:32). God judges nations (Jeremiah 18:7-10)The Lord chastises, disciplines and purges His people from sin (Isaiah 1:13-20). The book of Judges records how God judges faithlessness and disobedience. And it shows how God graciously redeems and restores His repentant people (Judges 2:10-16). Much of the Bible deals with times of captivity, exile, imprisonment and war.

Joseph is an example of how a believer can remain faithful to the Lord even in exile, slavery and imprisonment. And God rewarded Joseph's faithfulness by raising him up to be prime minister of Egypt.Daniel remained faithful to God even in exile in a foreign land and was raised up to serve as prime minister even under a heathen king - yet without compromising his faith. Nehemiah managed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem even while under foreign occupation. Elijah managed to evade the murderous persecution by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He finally saw the false prophets exposed and defeated them on Mount Carmel.

As we face the moral breakdown of South Africa: the deteriorating pornography plague, the exploitive gambling industry, the desecration of the Lord's Day, increasing blasphemy in "entertainment", the secularisation of schools, increasing crime and lawlessness, probable higher taxes, possible attempts to legalise abortion and even the beginning of persecution of Christians - how should we respond?

In any conflict we can say with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:

"The God Whom we serve is able to save us ... and He will ... But even if He does not, we want you to know 0 king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. " Daniel 3:17-18

We must recognise that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:25). Times change. Seasons come and go (Eccl 3:1-8). Kingdoms rise and fall. Leaders come and go. (Psalm 2). The wicked carry in themselves the seeds of their own destruction (Psalm 37:38). Humanism is a self-destructive ideology (Psalm 34:21). God is working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8.28). If our lives are firmly built upon the Word of God then we can endure the storms of life (Matthew 7.24-25). Even amidst chaos and catastrophe we can experience the comfort and calm of Christ (Psalm 46).

A Christian response to the present situation would be: To grieve over the destructive results of sin(Psalm 31); to repent for the sins of our nation (2 Chron 7:14); to pray for spiritual revival in the churches of South Africa (Daniel 9:3-19); to proclaim the Word of God (2 Tim 4:1-5); toevangelise (Luke 24:47); make disciples (Matt 28:18-20) and strengthen the churches (Acts 14:22).

Dr. Peter Hammond

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont
7735 Cape Town
South Africa
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