IEC, parties slams confiscation of taxi permits over branding
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 06:14:58
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and political parties in Limpopo have criticised the confiscation of taxi permits because of branding of political parties’ names.
The prevention of political adverts on public transport was among the issues discussed during the monthly Party Liaison Committee meeting held in Polokwane on Monday.
Last Friday, traffic officials confiscated permits of some taxis operating around Polokwane area.
Political parties in Limpopo are accusing the Department of Roads and Transport of interfering with their election plans following its ban on parties’ names appearing on mini-buses.
The Limpopo Traffic Department says minibus-taxis used for transport should be white with the marking of a South African flag and the name and address of the operators on it.
A Transport Department representative told the meeting that branding public transport is a contravention of the National Transport Act to brand and advertise on the mini-buses.
However, the meeting resolved that the department should allow party adverts to appear on mini-buses, since parties have already been paid for them.
Representatives of some parties have expressed their views.
“We are not happy with the way this law is now slickly implemented because all along was in place but not enforced. We feel very uncomfortable about that and we suggest that this be on hold or be suspended until after the elections. It comes at a time whereby we are left with a month and people have started campaigning.”
Limpopo Head of Traffic, Tshiwandalani Allen Matsila, says the Department has been in talks with the taxi associations about the matter since 2006.
He told the meeting that political parties’ concerns will be referred to the Transport Department’s management for consideration.
Limpopo Provincial Electoral Officer, Nkaro Mateta, says discussions at the meeting focused on compliance with the Electoral Act.
She says the IEC was not aware of the Transport Act that prevents branding of political parties on mini-buses.
Mateta says she is hopeful that the department will grant political parties relief to campaign for this year’s local government elections.
“Because this a critical period for them for compliance. We had also invited the department of transport to talk about issues of campaigning and branding taxis. As the electoral commission we were not aware of such legislation. We resolve that the department should give them a relief and suspend the implementation because most parties were not aware of such legislation, they spent money. They are saying please forgive us and let this come into operation after the elections.”
Matsila also told political parties that it is a contravention of traffic regulations to place political parties’ posters close to traffic lights.
“On that, what we are saying as a department, in terms of making sure that we don’t expose the road users to dangers, that posters should never be placed in such a way that they obscure the road traffic sign. Imagine when a motor vehicle is approaching a traffic light which is red, and that driver only realizes that the light is red once they’ve entered the interaction because of these posters. We have agreed we do not want our road users involved in road crashes as a result of posters.”