IEC calls on public to report violations during municipal polls

Members of the public may perform a “citizen’s arrest” on political parties breaking the rules of the game in the upcoming municipal elections.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chair Glen Mashinini said this on Monday in Midrand‚ Johannesburg where leaders of political parties gathered to sign the Electoral Code of Conduct.

Among the parties represented are the African National Congress (ANC)‚ the Democratic Alliance (DA)‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)‚ the Congress of the People (Cope) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Mashinini said the code is about upholding the rule of law: “The Electoral Act says the code of conduct must be subscribed to by all parties and candidates before they may contest the elections.

“The Electoral Court is the relevant authority to pursue contraventions of the code of conduct. Any member of the public may approach court directly to report any violations to the court. It is the equivalent of a citizen’s’ arrest.”

Security cluster bodies‚ including the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)‚ have committed to ensuring staff is available to investigate contraventions‚ Mashinini said.

In signing the code parties agree to refrain from using language which provokes violence‚ intimidation of candidates or voters and publishing false information about other candidates or parties‚ among a list of prohibited practices.

Parties can be fined up to R200 000 for breaching the code.

Thirteen leaders gathered to sign the code on Monday‚ but more will join in various provinces‚ Mashinini said.

The elections will take place on August 3.

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