JOHANNESBURG (Oct. 31)
Twenty leaders of eight South African political organizations left here for Israel over the weekend to observe the municipal election process there.
The leaders are making the visit to Israel to apply what they will learn from the Israeli election to South Africa’s own elections, scheduled for April 27, 1994.
They will be the country’s first non-racial democratic elections.
The invitation to visit Israel was extended by the Israeli Embassy here to leaders of South Africa’s major political parties, including the African National Congress and the Azanian People’s Organization.
Israeli Ambassador Alon Liel told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the program was devised by experts including members of the Israel-based Afro-Asian Institute and the Israel Democracy Institute.
“Participants will be able to witness a free and democratic election process firsthand,” said Liel. He feels the “welcome changes in Israel,” particularly the ongoing negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, have made it easier to prepare such a program for South African political leaders.
At a reception prior to the group’s departure for Israel, Jewish ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils, who heads the ANC’s campaigns and is a member of South Africa’s Election Commission, said all the delegates traveling to Israel are officially involved with the election preparations.
“We can learn a lot from Israel in many spheres of life,” Kasrils told JTA.
He added that as a result of Israel’s negotiations with the PLO, “everything is now possible in terms of improving relations between Israel and the ANC.”