IEC warns political parties to act within electoral code ahead of polls

The electoral code of conduct was signed by several political parties on Friday at Naserc in Johannesburg to ensure free and fair elections.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashini at a press briefing in Centurion, Johannesburg on 20 May 2021 on the upcoming local government elections. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has taken a tough stance against political parties who plan to disrupt political meetings, free campaigning and open public debate during the upcoming local government elections.

The electoral code of conduct was signed by several political parties on Friday at Naserc in Johannesburg to ensure free and fair elections.

A total of 325 parties will vie for seats on 1 November, with 1,718 independent candidates also contesting.

Electoral commission chairperson, Glen Mashinini, declared the IEC ready for the local government elections at the signing of the electoral code of conduct pledge in Johannesburg.

With exactly a month left before South Africans head to the polls to cast their votes, Mashinini emphasised that the responsibility to carry out free and fair elections lay not only with the IEC but with political parties, their agents and candidates as well.

"The responsibilities of the political parties also goes beyond abiding by the code, which is using language which provokes violence, intimidation of candidates or voters, defacing posters of other parties, carrying arms or weapons at political meetings, bribing voters to vote or not to vote and generally abusing a position of power."

Meanwhile, party leaders called on the IEC to be more rigorous in enforcing the code.

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