(Genevieve Quintal, News24)
Johannesburg - No advantage will be given to any political party in the run-up to this year's local government elections, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
Zuma was in Midrand, Johannesburg, where he signed the electoral code of conduct on behalf of the African National Congress.
"The ANC also reaffirms its commitment to political tolerance, peaceful co-existence with other parties, as well as free political activity throughout our country," he said while giving his party's pledge.
"We look forward to a robust and peaceful electioneering period at equal level and successful elections on 3 August. No advantage will be given to any [party], we canvass and participate equally as equal parties."
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said that, although he was signing the code, he felt there were two "threats" facing these elections which were not addressed in the pledge.
Time to make a choice
"It's obvious, without doubt, that the role of the IEC firstly has been something which has now been a court battle. I request… as the chairperson said, that the IEC should be at forefront of free and fair elections," Maimane said.
"Second, is when political parties use state machinery and patronage… to fight elections."
He said this was the time for voters to make a choice between "corrupt governments and honest ones".
Economic Freedom Fighters treasurer Magdalene Moonsamy signed the pledge on behalf of the red berets.
She said a true and full democracy did not only lie in the campaigning of political parties, but also in the conduct of the IEC during the elections.
"The EFF realizes, as a government in waiting, that our path towards a true and full democracy does not only lie in the process of campaigning, but more especially in the activities of the IEC, that must shape the process at the voting stations and protect the process of counting the ballot papers," she said.
Respect for right to campaign
This will be the first time that the EFF is contesting local government elections.
"The EFF beckons and pleads with the IEC to exercise its very own good ethic and practice, impartiality, integrity, transparency and accountability in executing the electoral code of conduct equal to its expectations of all political parties in ensuring balanced and unbiased electioneering platform… and in particular ensuring that the employees of the IEC are not affiliated to any political party."
Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota called on voters to be tolerant of different views during the campaigning.
"Unless citizens respect each other's rights to campaign, to listen to everyone and ultimately make their choice, then voting loses its meaning," he said.
Thirteen political parties signed the IEC's electoral code of conduct.