Political parties and independent candidates have pledged to work together to ensure a fair and free environment for voters in the upcoming 2016 Municipal Elections. A special signing of the Code of Conduct took place at the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Electoral Launch at the Century City Conference Centre on Monday.
The Code of Conduct as contained in the Electoral Act 73 of 1997 calls on all members to show tolerance and respect for all views, irrespective of their differences.
IEC hosted the event with just 56 days until Election Day on the 3rd August 2016. IEC’s provincial electoral officer, Courtney Sampson says the code of conduct is a binding document to ensure political party members lead by example.
“I think that political parties have responded well. We are satisfied that they have done what they need to do but we understand that this is a highly emotional time for parties. We know that there will be some misbehaving but we hope this pledge can ensure we work together,” Sampson said.
However, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) secretary general Malikhaya Xego questioned the motives behind the code of conduct. Xego claims the IEC has historically been in support of the ruling party (ANC) which he believes has stifled the progress of other contesting parties in previous elections.
But the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)’s Ferlon Christians commended the IEC for bringing the party representatives together.
“This is an important day for us. I am so happy to see all these parties that have come out to ensure we have a free and fair election. We compliment the IEC for their work,” Christians told VOC News.
ANC acting provincial chairperson, Khaya Magaxa says the party is prepared and ready for the upcoming elections and believes the code of conduct is a step in the right direction.
The Western Cape currently holds the highest number of political parties contesting in the Municipal elections. In addition, there are 402 Wards in the province along with 1586 voting districts to accommodate an estimated 3 066 649 registered voters. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)