The same rules must apply to all, DA urges IEC as it signs electoral code

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
DA leader John Steenhuisen said his party will focus on winning small towns in the elections. File photo.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said his party will focus on winning small towns in the elections. File photo.
Image: Werner Hills

It is critical the Electoral Commission (IEC) takes proactive steps to ensure all political parties adhere to regulations and are appropriately sanctioned when they do not, and ensure a level playing field for campaigning, DA leader John Steenhuisen said on Friday.

Some political parties are breaking the rules governing elections and appear to be getting away with it, he said.

Steenhuisen was speaking at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, where parties gathered to sign a pledge and commit themselves, their parties, candidates and supporters to conducting themselves in accordance with the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He said in terms of the Political Party Funding Act, the IEC needs to be clear about which parties have refused to report on their large donations, as distinct from those parties which have no large donations to report.

Steenhuisen said the act needs to be amended to give the IEC the powers to audit parties.

“The EFF is quite clearly spending more than it would be able to do if it weren’t getting large donations, yet they have failed to disclose any of these donations. Their finances need to be audited,” Steenhuisen said.

He said party declarations cannot be taken at face value.

Steenhuisen said the manifesto launches of the ANC and the EFF were in breach of lockdown regulations, which at the time limited outdoor gatherings to 500 people.

“Their willingness to break the law puts law-abiding parties such as the DA at a distinct disadvantage.

“What action is the IEC taking to protect the fairness of this election in this regard?”

He said if the IEC favours certain political parties over others, it is failing in its fundamental role to ensure free and fair elections.

“The IEC needs to police political parties’ conduct. Its own conduct also needs policing to ensure it is the independent institution it must be for elections to be free and fair.”

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