'No muffins, no sweets or money': Political parties promise to behave as they sign electoral code of conduct

20 March 2019 - 15:45 By QAANITAH HUNTER
Nearly 50 political parties will contest the upcoming general elections on May 8.
Nearly 50 political parties will contest the upcoming general elections on May 8.

A call for the reinstatement of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe; a plea to shut down all government hospitals; and a decision to fight for the insourcing of security guards and cleaners.

These are some of the messages from political parties contesting the 2019 general elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday held a ceremony for the signing of the electoral code of conduct in Midrand, where parties contesting the May 8 election were given a platform to share their views. 

A total of 48 parties are contesting the general elections. The code they were made to sign binds them to a commitment that allows for freedom of expression and political association.

ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe said he believed it was time South Africa voted for a "godly government" and that “the ACDP has partnered with king Jesus to lead our country into a promised land”.

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng - now the president of the African Content Movement - said he knew everyone present would “in their heart vote ACM”.

“There is no new dawn. The new dawn is ACM. This one [the ANC] is an old dawn," said Motsoeneng. 

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said his party’s signature on the electoral code of conduct affirmed what the party wrote in the Freedom Charter. “We are bound, as we are gathered here, by the responsibility that the will of the people truly prevails,” he said.

African People's Convention (APC) leader Themba Godi took to the podium to call for the ban of any political party activity on election day, including “no party tables, no gazebos, no muffins, no sweets or money”.

The African Security Congress promised to “not tire until insourcing of security officers and cleaners is adhered to”.

AgangSA’s Andries Tlouamma said when his party wins the elections, they will never be arrogant. “We will never be changed by tenders,” he said.

Black First Land First (BLF) president Andile Mngxitama said his party would abide by the code of conduct, but asked to be treated with fairness. “We have a message for land thieves: we are going to parliament to return the land of our people,” he said, ending with a call for the return of Molefe to Eskom.

Mngxitama was followed on the podium by the leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), Kanthan Pillay, who said his party was one “of the purple cow”, in reference to their logo.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said he would sign the code of conduct to “endorse their support for South Africa’s democracy”.

He was followed by DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who said the election took place at a time where 10-million citizens can’t find work, infrastructure is decaying and state institutions are captured by a corrupt few. “It will be an election where young people will come and express a choice about their future,” he said.

The EFF’s deputy secretary Hlengiwe Hlophe-Maxon urged people to not remove their election posters.

The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) used the allocated time to call for a change in the electoral system to one “that represents the people”.

The Free Democrats called for privatisation in SA and for a shutdown of all government hospitals, adding that all South Africans should have medical aid.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has been on the ballot for every general election since 1994, said his party would uphold the code of conduct.

Meanwhile, the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) called for an end to corruption, which they called “treason against South Africa”.

The Land Party representative called on South Africans to “vote against imperialist agents”, populism and "empty rhetoric".

The Patriotic Alliance’s Leanne Williams said her party would be a "kingmaker" in May. “Your vote is a powerful tool this coming election. You have the power to vote out this government,” she said.

The People’s Revolutionary Movement said their enemies include “illegal foreign nationals who have found a safe haven in our country”.

Numsa leader Irvin Jim, who now heads the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, said the working class finally has its own political party.

The UDM reminded the IEC that they too are bound by the electoral code of conduct.

As per the code of conduct, parties have pledged that everyone has a right to freely express their political beliefs and opinions, to challenge and debate the political beliefs of others, to publish campaign material and to erect banners and billboards.

Parties can canvass support, recruit members and hold public meetings. Every party also ought to condemn any actions that may undermine free and fair elections.

"In 49 days these elections will be over, but our democratic journey of building a just, fair and equitable South Africa will continue,” said the IEC’s Glen Mashinini.

“Every party and candidate must accept the results of the elections or challenge the results in the courts.”