By SA News
Thirteen political parties represented in the South African Parliament committed to abide by the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct during the 2016 Local Elections.
Parties on Monday signed the Electoral Code of Conduct pledging to abide by the rules and ensure that elections are free and fair.
The signing ceremony took place 78 days before citizens visit voting stations in their districts to elect a political party of their choice to provide services in their municipalities.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) chairperson, Glen Mashinini, said all political parties and candidates are required to subscribe to the Code of Conduct before they can contest an election.
“The code of conduct is about the rule of law,” he said.
Mashinini called on all parties to ensure that they take reasonable steps to ensure that candidates, members, officials and supporters comply with the rules of the game.
“We embrace the maturing and deepening of our democracy and therefore we proudly relish the advancement of our nationhood ideal that remains enshrined in our hearts.”
He said any member of the public is welcomed to approach the Electoral Court directly to report allegations of violations of the code.
“Ensuring free and fair elections is the mandate of the Electoral Commission, but it is not something we can achieve alone or in isolation,” he said.
Mashinini urged all political party leaders to uphold and defend the code of conduct. He said all candidates must contest elections vigorously and vibrantly but at all times respect the rights of others.
Political party representatives committed to maximum tolerance and publicly promoting the eradication of “no-go” areas for political campaigns by political parties. They committed not to use speech or actions that will provoke supporters or members of the general public to commit acts of intolerance or other inflammatory actions.
The leaders committed to work together to achieve the objectives and goals of the code of conduct.
Parties pledge tolerance
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) representative said the party commits to abide by the rules. “We will observe the Electoral Code of Conduct. As people who believe that there is power in the tongue, we will use our tongues to build and not to destroy,” said the representative.
The African Independent Congress (AIC) representative also said the party commits to abide by the rules, and believed that people should be accountable for their actions.
Representing the African National Congress (ANC), President Jacob Zuma said the party will abide by all dictates of the code of conduct. “The ANC also reaffirms its commitment to political tolerance and peaceful co-existence with other parties, as well as free political activity throughout our country.”
African People’s Convention (APC) representative said the party commits to fight a clean fight. “We wish all progressive parties the best of luck in the elections,” he said.
Agang SA representative said the party will observe and uphold the code of conduct unconditionally. “We will encourage our members and supporters to be tolerant…,” he said.
Congress of the People (COPE) representative Terror Lekota said the party will encourage its members and competitors to listen to each other.
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said the party signed the pledge to commit that it will also observe and uphold the Constitution of the country. “I invite the international community to make sure that we monitor these elections and ensure that they are free and fair.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) representative called on the IEC to exercise its very own ethical practice in executing the Code of Conduct.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) representative said the party condemns any party that will buy votes.
The National Freedom Party (NFP) representative said the party believes that all parties who signed the pledge will contribute towards free and fair elections. “We pledge ourselves today to non-violence. We are looking forward to working together with the IEC in the full belief that the IEC will conduct itself 100 percent with fairness,” he said.
The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) representative said the party commits to reinstate the culture of tolerance.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) representative said she hopes the elections will be peaceful for all South Africans.
The Vryheidsfront Plus (VF+) representative also committed his party uphold the Code of Conduct by signing the pledge.