Political intolerance seems to be a major problem in some parts of the country ahead of the upcoming local government elections. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga says it has opened a case with the police after their election posters were allegedly destroyed last week.
Meanwhile, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) alleges that their recent campaign trail was disrupted in Bushbuckridge.
The upcoming local government elections are expected to be highly contested, because of the increase of candidates. In Mpumalanga, there are more than 6 000 candidates registered to contest the elections to be held in a few weeks’ time. As different political parties intensify their election campaigns, political intolerance is a big concern. DA leader in Mpumalanga, Jane Sithole says that their posters were removed in different municipalities, last week.
“We found that most of the posters of our party and other political parties were on the ground or removed completely taken. We see that as intolerance or maybe some political parties were not ready or they didn’t have posters so now they are taking from other political parties, which is not right. We have also opened few cases in terms of the vandalising of the posters, it is wrong.”
The secretary of the provincial ATM, Siphiwe Mathebula says their campaigning was disrupted in Bushbuckridge.
“There are instances in Bushbuckridge where our members were campaigning and they were disrupted by the African National Congress supporters. We appeal to the ANC and they pledge, today to talk to their members to ensure that they bring tolerance. The infighting that is happening in the ANC they mustn’t take it outside to the members of other political parties. They must deal with their issues in house.”
Mpumalanga ANC acting chairperson, Mandla Ndlovu has dismissed allegations leveled against his party.
“If there are instances like this one they should have been reported even to the IEC so that this matter can be resolved, so they are just complaining. So I am doubting whether these political party whether it is busy campaigning the elections or they are busy preparing to dispute the outcomes of the elections. All political parties we are supporting the IEC are busy organising free and fair elections. We are their peaceful organisation, as I indicated we will allow other political parties to campaign. We respect all the electoral laws. Especially the laws that deal with campaigning.”
With all the political finger-pointing going on, the different political parties in Mpumalanga have signed a pledge to abide by the electoral code of conduct. Speaking during the event, IEC chairperson, Glen Mashinini called on the political parties to educate their members about the importance of the code of conduct.
“What we have is the duty as political parties, consenters and the commission is to continue educating the masses and to educate the people to understand the rules of the game. To understand that for it to be free and fair they have a role to play. It doesn’t serve anyone to take a poster down. I mean you can take the poster down but you cannot alter how the person is going to vote.”
LGE 2021 | IEC urges political parties in KZN to adhere to the electoral code of conduct: