Ban government ads during elections – MP

2014-03-27 15:58

Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling says government advertising should be banned during the election period, but ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize said it was necessary for government to report back and showcase its achievements.

Speaking at an Institute for Security Studies seminar on party political funding in Cape Town this morning, Greyling said the ANC abused government resources for electioneering.

“An election period is, in fact, the time for political parties to showcase their achievements, it is not time for government to showcase that. It is fine for the ANC to point to successes of government but it should be using its own resources to do that, not government resources to do the bidding of the ANC,” he told City Press on the sidelines of the seminar.

He said government could use the rest of the year to communicate its achievements.

Greyling, who sits with his party in the DA caucus, and will be returning as a DA MP after the elections, said the issue could be discussed in detail if a bill on regulating party political funding is discussed. But he said once an election was proclaimed, it was a good time to say that government advertising should stop. “This would give us a period of at least three months at least in which no explicit government advertising should take place,” he said.

But Mkhize told City Press: “The DA wants to eat its cake and still have it. It wants to focus on criticising the lack of government’s performance – and the government is doing a lot – and now say no, there must be no communication of what government is doing. This election is about what government has done,” he said.

“Government has to find a way to communicate what it has been doing. Interest in the government is highest at election time, that’s normal and natural, and therefore communication about government should also be highest during election time,” he said.

Mkhize said the government billboards and T-shirts in ANC colours was “not a big issue for me” because yellow was a widely used colour.

However, it would be wrong to have government printing ANC T-shirts or an ANC emblem on a government T-shirt.

He said he had not seen the yellow T-shirts with Zuma’s face, resembling ANC T-shirts, with government emblems on them.

“There are companies – MTN has changed to yellow – I’ve seen. So my point is, is there an ANC emblem? That would be wrong,” he said.

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