South Africa’s IEC Mandates Violent-free Election Ahead May Polls
South Africa has begun preparations in earnest for the conduct of general elections scheduled to hold on the 8th of May 2019 to elect a new National Assembly and new provincial legislatures in each province.
This was revealed when the political parties who are set to contest the 2019 national and provincial elections vowed to uphold the IEC Code of Conduct while campaigning in the run up to the 8 May polls.
“It is everybody’s business. It is our responsibility as citizens of this country. It is the responsibility of the leaders of this country,” said IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini while addressing delegates during an event at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg.
“It is the responsibility of the leaders of this country. The rules are straightforward, they derive from the electoral act… electoral conduct is firmly rooted in the founding provisions of our constitution.”
Mashinini also underlined that the code of conduct was in place to promote conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections, characterised by tolerance among political parties.
The rules of the conduct, among others, requires that parties speak against political violence and threats against other parties, the IEC members and members of the public and the media. It also requires that parties alert authorities of planned marches and rallies.
They are also expected to accept election results or challenge them in court. The code prohibits the use of language that provokes violence, intimidation of candidates or voters.
It also prohibits the publishing of false information about other parties and their candidates. The plagiarising of party symbols, name or acronym as well as the destroying, defacing or removal of posters of other parties is also not allowed.
Meanwhile, party leaders today took turns pledging to respect the IEC’s code of conduct.
“We are bound, as we are gathered, by responsibility that the will of the people shall prevail by appending our signatures,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as African National Congress (ANC) leader, adding that his party was committed to upholding and promoting the code of conduct.
By this, the President said the ANC was affirming its commitment to work with all political parties and South Africans to build a strong and durable democracy.
Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mouisoa Lekota said the party was signing the Code of Conduct in order to endorse its support for South Africa’s democracy.
“We do it so we can inspire our voters. Also to sustain that which we achieved in 1994. We also sign so that future generations may look to this moment and continue to follow those who founded this democracy,” he said.
South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) on Wednesday said the assurance of a free and fair election was the responsibility of every South African and not just the IEC.
Campaign for violent-free election is key rule for all participants in the election.
Incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa, the 12th head of State in South Africa, will lead the ruling African National Congress in the election, attempting to retain majority status and a full term in office as president; his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, resigned from office on 14 February 2018 and was already ineligible for a third term in office as the South African Constitution limits a president to serve a maximum of two five-year terms.