Defacing party posters ‘a crime’

2014-03-18 00:00

THE Independent Electoral Commission’s provincial manager Ntombifuthi Masinga yesterday urged political parties to report any defacing or taking down of political posters to the police.

This after the Democratic Alliance accused ANC supporters of placing their party posters over the DA posters.

The DA’s eThekwini caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said this had been taking place in Newlands, KwaMashu and Umlazi.

“This is a flagrant disregard of the electoral code of conduct and the municipal by-laws. The council has set conditions that state that while campaigning, parties should not place their posters over opposition posters.

“Before the end of the day, we will lay charges with the police and we will then take the matter up with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC),” said Mncwango.

He said according to the municipal by-law, political parties are allowed to have one poster per pole, and that posters should be place above or below other posters which are already on the pole.

Masinga urged the DA to report the matter to police. “This is a criminal offence. If this has happened, not only has the municipal by-laws been broken, but also the electoral code of conduct.

“Because we are not a law-enforcing agency we advise the complainants in cases like this to report the matter to the police and then come to us. We then deal with the complaint through the Party Liaison Committee which only works towards mediation. The mediation process does not have punitive measures, hence it is best to lay criminal charges,” said Masinga.

She said if raised with the IEC, the matter will be dealt with in the commission’s next meeting.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said they have not received such reports and appealed to affected parties to consult the ANC to find a working solution. “We do not condone undermining other parties’ campaigns as we believe that this process has to be free and fair,” he said.

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