New view of old rules sees parties clawing for last minute election gains

In previous years campaigning was not allowed in the period directly before the election but the social media age has forced the IEC to look at the law differently.

The Independent Electoral Commission's National Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Pretoria. Picture: @IECSouthAfrica/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Various political parties are planning a last-minute push this weekend to drum up support ahead of Monday's election.

In previous years campaigning was not allowed in the period directly before the election but the social media age has forced the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to look at the law differently.

Before 1994 the Electoral Law was clear about a "cooling off" period before elections day, and this tradition continued in the early years of democracy.

The advent of social media has made it difficult to contain campaigning in the days before an election.

Earlier this week the IEC issued guidelines to parties to clarify the issue.

According to these guidelines, elections day is only on Monday and so this weekend's special voting days are excluded from this interpretation.

The IEC acknowledged it was not preferable for political campaigns to take place on these two days, but there was no legal basis to enforce this.

The law is explicit, however, that radio and television adverts are not allowed on these two days.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address a rally in Midrand while the Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen will be campaigning in Sea Point in Cape Town.

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