Leaders and party representatives of the 48 parties contesting this year’s national election gathered today at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand to sign a pledge and commit themselves, their parties, candidates and supporters to conducting themselves in accordance with the Electoral Code of Conduct.
The Code holds contesting parties and candidates to a code of behaviour intended to promote conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections and creating a climate of tolerance, free political campaigning, and open public debate. It is in effect from the day of proclamation of an election until the announcement of results.
In terms of the Code parties and candidates must publicly state that everyone has the right to:
Freely express their political beliefs and opinions.
Challenge and debate the political beliefs and opinions of others.
To publish and distribute election and campaign material.
To lawfully erect banners, billboards, placards and posters.
To canvass support for their party or candidates.
To recruit members for a party.
To hold public meetings.
To travel to and attend public meetings.
Every party and candidate must also publicly condemn any action that may undermine the free and fair conduct of elections and must accept the results of the election or challenge the result in court. The Electoral Court has jurisdiction in respect of all electoral disputes and complaints about infringements of the Code. Any person who suspects that a party or a candidate has breached the Code can report the incident to Electoral Court. The Secretary of the Court, Ms Samkelo Mgxekwa, can be contacted on email SMgxekwa@sca.judiciary.org.za or tel: 051 412-7400 / 7494.
The Electoral Commission has also activated its Office for Electoral Offences to investigate all complaints of alleged transgressions of prohibited conduct and provisions of the Electoral Code. A complainant may lodge a complaint with the Directorate for Electoral Offence when it is operational via email to: Legalservices@elections.org.za. The complainant should include as much detail as possible to help the Directorate to conduct a thorough investigation.
This should include:
The date of the incident
The political party and/or candidate involved
Full details of the incident and how it is alleged to have transgressed the Code
Any evidence such as audio or video clips, posters, pamphlets, photographs or screen grabs etc. to be attached
Full contact details for follow-up
Presiding over today’s signing ceremony, Electoral Commission Chairperson Glen Mashinini called on all parties and candidates to recommit themselves to the Constitution and its values as South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy
“As we remember their ultimate sacrifice and the sacrifices of tens of thousands of others over the course of the long struggle for freedom, we pledge ourselves to never again see the denial of our people to human rights, to dignity, to freedom an to democracy. Let us make sure we at all times respect the rights of others, our Constitution and the spirit of tolerance, reconciliation and unity which underpinned our first elections 25 years ago.
“Remember, in just 49 days the elections will be over but our democratic journey of building a just, fair, equitable and united South Africa will continue. Let us not let our passion for victory in elections overpower our passion for democracy and unity,” he said.
ISSUED BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
Ensuring free and fair elections
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