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Political parties pledge to abide by the IEC’s electoral code

Political parties have pledged not to incite violence, to respect voters and to abide by the electoral code.

Opposition parties have also called on all stakeholders to do their part to ensure that elections are free of intimidation and violence ahead of this year’s municipal elections.

Political parties have pledged to abide by the Electoral code at the official signing of the electoral document in Johannesburg on Monday.

The leaders of South Africa’s major political parties were seated together at the same place at the same time. Their politics may differ but for the signing of the electoral code they carried a similar message.

IEC Chairperson, Glen Mashinini says: “One may ask then why the signing of the code of conduct is so vital? Is it not on the elections timetable? Like any contestation can you imagine a world cup final without the FIFA rules?”

African National Congress’s (ANC), president Jacob Zuma says: “We pledge the ANC’s support and commitment to the IEC code of conduct and undertake to abide by all the dictates of the code of conduct…. We look forward to robust electioneering across the country at equal level. No advantage will be given, we will canvass equally. Let us do it fairly.”

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) president Mmusi Maimane says, “I think we’ve all got a responsibility to watch what happens that we don’t incite violence. I hear other political leaders calling for burning of party offices – it is very dangerous. We come from there, it’s a dangerous trend. The most powerful weapon is the pen and we need to ensure we take government through the pen.”

Economic Freedom Fighters’s (EFF) Magdelene Moonsamy, “The EFF realises as a government in waiting that the path to democracy does not lie in the process of voting but also in the work of the IEC in handling and counting of ballot papers… The EFF beckons and pleads with the IEC to exercise its good practice in executing the electoral code of conduct.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP), Inkosi E.M Buthelezi, “On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party I commit to upholding the electoral code. The election comes in a highly politically charged environment… As much as we respect our right to vote our votes must be respected without being manipulated.”

Some of the smaller contenders also had their chance to express their expectations towards the build-up to the local government polls.

The National Freedom Party’s (NFP), Sindi Mashinin says, “We have in the past experienced that people in some areas don’t understand democracy as provided for in the constitution of our country and tried to create no-go zones. This must never be allowed to happen.”

The Pan Africanist Congress’s (PAC), Luthando Mbinda, “The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania is here at least to also make sure that these elections they are free and fair. These elections are taking place at a time where our people are living with poverty. Eight million are unemployed and going to bed without food.”

The United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) Thandi Nontenga, “We are pledging that our supporters will work with and tolerate all other party’s members. We further call on the IEC to ensure that there are consequences to those who don’t adhere to the code of conduct.”

Freedom Front Plus’s (FFPlus), Pieter Mulder, “The problem is there is a tendency to generalise. Something like all white people are racist. All black people are criminals. A generalisation is always wrong because not all people are the same. The FF Plus has a proven record of keeping to the rules and we will once again do so.”

This ensures that all contestants are aware of the rules of the game before it is played.

The Pledge signed today commits leaders:

1. To lead their parties in a manner that will reinforce a culture of tolerance towards all other parties contesting elections

2. To effectively counsel and advise all candidates on their party lists so that each candidate will in turn propagate a message of maximum tolerance

3. To publicly promote the eradication of no-go areas for political campaigns by political parties

4. To desist from using speech or from participating in actions which will have the effect of provoking either parties’ supporters or members of the general public to commit acts of intolerance or take other inflammatory actions.

5. To work together to achieve the objects and goals of the Code of Conduct

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Glen Mashinini, said in his address the Code of Conduct was equivalent to the “rules of the game” for elections.

“The Electoral Act requires that the Code of Conduct must be subscribed to by all parties and candidates before they may be allowed to contest an election. This ensures that all contestants are aware of the rules of the game before it is played. The purpose of the Code therefore is to ensure a level playing field.”

Mr Mashinini said that while ensuring free and fair elections was the mandate of the Electoral Commission “this is not something we can achieve alone or in isolation”.

– By SABC

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