Defacing or removing election posters a criminal offence, IEC warns

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Defacing or illegally removing election posters is a criminal offence. The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape says that those found committing this offence must be reported to the police.

Next month, South Africa is set to hold the most contested elections since the dawn of democracy.

Election posters are erected to allow free campaigning and to promote free and fair elections.

The poster on the R27 has been turned to face the sea. Others have been folded on the poles to hide some of the information of the contestants.

IEC Provincial Electoral Officer in the Western Cape, Michael Hendricks says, “Posters are part of campaigning during elections and that is why our legislation ensures that it’s a criminal offence for any person to deface or unlawfully remove the poster of any political party during this period because I think also it just goes against the environment that’s conducive to political campaigning. So, as the IEC we call on everybody, not only political parties, to leave the posters up where they belong.”

Ripping off posters or defacing them, goes against democracy. The IEC says if this is deliberate, transgressors must face the law.

“In terms of our legislation, it’s a criminal offence. If you see somebody doing something wrong like anything else, go and report it to the police. I think they are the ones that have the authority to investigate,” Hendricks adds.

Culprits and potential culprits should ask themselves if they are willing to risk arrest or jail time for defacing, removing, or tampering with an election poster.