Johannesburg - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has dismissed a complaint by the DA that Johannesburg's mayor Parks Tau misused state funding to punt himself as a mayoral candidate for Wednesday's municipal elections, his spokesperson said.
City of Johannesburg mayoral spokesperson Phindile Chauke said the DA's complaint was over Tau's advertisements of the City’s milestones and achievements which began in March with the tagline "Clearly, the City of Johannesburg is in good hands".
Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for the city Herman Mashaba laid the complaint on July 8, saying the radio advertisement was "excessive and gratiuitous" and focused on the individual achievements of Tau, who is running on an ANC ticket.
The battle between the ANC and the DA is expected to be a close call, according to Ipsos marketing surveys commissioned by eNCA.
Ipsos's latest numbers put the DA ahead of the ANC by four points with 36% of people saying they would vote for the party in the City of Johannesburg. Newcomers to municipal elections came in at 9%.
The DA and ANC are holding their last big rallies this weekend and the gloves have been coming off in tit-for-tat insults flying between the two.
According to a transcript on the DA's website, the advertisement in question said: "A great city like Joburg deserves great leadership, so it's good to know that Joburg executive mayor, counsellor Parks Tau, was recently nominated as an African candidate for the United Cities and Local Government co-Presidency and the MEC for Health and Social Development was elected Vice President of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa, an Integral part of United Cities and Local Governance Africa.
"Clearly the city of Joburg is in good hands. Joburg, a world class African city."
At the time, Mashaba said this had nothing to do with telling Johannesburg residents about progress made by the city.
But Tau's office countered by saying the advertisement was first distributed as early as March 3, 2016 – long before the date of the local government elections was announced by President Jacob Zuma on 6 April, and proclaimed in the Government Gazette on 23 May.
Tau's response to the IEC was that the DA was against the local government institution "engaging and communicating with residents".
"The content of the advert was designed to instill confidence among Johannesburg residents, investors and potential investors, as opposed to the allegation that it was an 'abuse of power' to campaign for the ANC," said Chauke.
Comment from the IEC was not immediately available, but Chauke stated that it had found that the advertisement appeared to be in the course and scope of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council's operations, and did not constitute a contravention of the electoral code of conduct.