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FF Plus lays complaint against DA over election SMSes

The party says texts by the DA warns voters against voting for smaller parties.

A DA billboard on a busy street in Port Elizabeth is among several prominent posters the party erected in the run-up to the local government elections in 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has laid a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) against the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The party's accusing the DA of acting in breach of the Electoral Code of Conduct for the local government elections, by sending voters text messages that warn them against voting for smaller parties because it will split the opposition vote.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder says the party lodged its complaint against the DA with the IEC today.

"We've got SMSes going all over in Johannesburg, for example, and Pretoria, [saying] a vote for a smaller party will split the vote and let the ANC win."

Mulder says the DA's claim that a vote for a smaller party will be a wasted ballot is not true.

"I think that is a very nasty SMS that is a lie and it's not correct actually."

The FF Plus says in local government elections, all votes count. The party adds that even if a ward's candidate doesn't win, the votes they get go towards a party's proportional representation on a council.

This means a party ends up with the same percentage of representatives as the percentage of votes it received.

The FF Plus says the DA's text message reads as follows: "Only the DA can beat the ANC in Jo'burg. A vote for a smaller party will split the vote and let the ANC win. Don't waste your vote. Vote for Change. Vote DA."

FF+ chairperson Dr Pieter Groenewald says the DA is misleading voters.

In his letter to the IEC he says the DA is acting in breach of clause 9 (1) (b) of the Electoral Code of Conduct, which says no party or candidate may publish false or defamatory allegations in connecting with an election; in respect of a party, its candidates or members.

The FF Plus says the DA is also running a radio ad on Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) with a similar message.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder says, "I don't want to fight with other parties that we tend to have coalitions with, but I cannot allow people [to be] misled out there. Because we get people that now phone in and say 'I was voting for you,' but who are now worried."

Mulder adds, "It's not based on facts and therefore we're asking the Electoral Commission to look at that to say this is the system and this is what they say. Do you think they can go ahead with this type of propaganda that is not based on facts?"