A total of 27 political parties and 32 independent candidates gathered at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on Saturday July 9 to sign a pledge to uphold the Electoral Code of Conduct as prescribed in the Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 at an electoral seminar organised by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The one-day seminar came as political parties intensified their election campaigns ahead of the August 3 local government polls.
During the seminar, IEC Vice-Chairperson and Commissioner Terry Tselane outlined the role of the commission and that of political parties and independent candidates contesting the elections. He said that while the IEC was charged with the task to organise, conduct and manage the elections, and to ensure that they were free and fair, participating political parties and the independent candidates needed to ensure free campaigning, political tolerance, co-operation and compliance.
“It is for the benefit of all that the elections are free and fair and that the environment in which they take place is conducive for that,” Tselane said.
“Aggrieved participants must engage the commission in bilateral talks. They must refrain from going to the media [because] that would be in breach of the electoral code. The commission will not address concerns via the media.”
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau said the event was important because it gave participating political parties and independent candidates the opportunity to pledge subscription to the electoral code of conduct.
“Participation in the electoral process must be based on mutual respect, tolerance and the recognition of the rights of others to exercise their democratic rights,” Mayor Tau said.
After signing the pledge to uphold the electoral code, all the participating political parties and independent candidates were issued with certificates of attendance. Political parties represented at the seminar included the African National Congress, Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Front, Pan Africanist Congress, United Democratic Movement, Inkatha Freedom Party, Socialist Party of Azania, Azanian People’s Organisation, Freedom Front Plus and African Christian Democratic Party.
The DA was represented by its Johannesburg mayoral candidate, businessman Herman Mashaba.
Candidates who have registered in Johannesburg as independent candidates include Seth Mazibuko, a prominent student leader during the Soweto June 16 1976 uprising; and Japhta “Mr Clean” Lekgetho, a well-known Soweto resident and environmentalist who in the early 1980s spearheaded a campaign to clean the township.