IEC to S. African Political Parties: Tone Down ‘Populist Rhetoric’

The start of the election cycle has seen the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) meet with various political parties to discourage them from “cheap politicking that includes populist rhetoric and antics.”

IEC commissioner Mosotho Moepya said that on Jan. 11, members of the IEC’s office for electoral offenses met with Black First Land First (BLF) liaison officials over complaints laid against party leader Andile Mngxitama following his comments about killing White people, the Johannesburg-based City Press reported.

On the heels of the meeting with the BLF, the members also had to sit with the ANC and DA liaison officials over a complaint laid by the former with regards to an “offensive” campaign poster used by the latter.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula this week confirmed that the party’s liaison officials had indeed attended a meeting at the commission over the controversial DA poster, which is headlined with the words #TheANCisKillingSA and then lists the names of all the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

“There is progress with regards to the IEC addressing our complaint,” said Mbalula, who did not give any further details of the meeting.

DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi also confirmed that the meeting had taken place, but added that the DA stood by its decision to use the billboard and that there were no plans to take it down.

“That is why we held a memorial service with the families of the victims in front of Premier David Makhura’s office on Thursday,” he said.

Moepya said that, contrary to media speculation, the complaint had been raised with the commission by the ANC, which said that the DA had violated its rights.

“It was never the families of the Life Esidimeni victims who came to us,” he said, adding that in the instance of the meeting with the ANC and DA liaison officers, the commission’s office for electoral offenses had had a productive meeting and hoped to reach a resolution soon.

Moepya called for “all political parties registered with us to strive to conduct themselves in a dignified manner, especially during the campaign period leading up to the May elections.”

In the meeting with the BLF, “we clarified our expectations of them and shared with them our views on how we think parties ought to conduct themselves in accordance with the electoral commission’s prescripts,” Moepya said.

Mngxitama said there was never any question about the BLF being deregistered following the meeting with the IEC.

Instead, he added, “the party will be on the ballot for this year’s elections.”

“We have no intentions of disrupting the electoral process and are willing to abide by all the IEC’s stipulated laws of engagement as a registered political party,” Mngxitama said.

On the BLF, Moepya said: “The law is clear on what needs to happen for a party to get to a point where it may need to be deregistered. In this case, that threshold has not been reached.”

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