Idasa concerned at vote buying and improper use of state resources

3 May 2011

For Immediate Release

Idasa notes with great concern recent reports, within the media and from our own sources, of vote buying and the improper use of state resources to influence the electoral choices/support of voters in the upcoming 18 May elections.

•     In the Capricorn Municipality in Limpopo province, voters have been given five month contracts under the Expanded Public Works Program in exchange for electoral support.
•    In Ward 20 of the Emnambithi Municipality in KZN, food parcels have been handed out to voters in exchange for electoral support while some voters have also been promised jobs in the municipality.
•    Also in KZN, voters have received paraffin gel stoves in exchange for signing petitions indicating their electoral support.
•    In Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the Eastern Cape, voters were offered jobs in the municipality in exchange for electoral support.
•    In Ward 33 of the Mangaung Municipality in the Free State, voters were given food parcels in exchange for promised electoral support.

The Electoral Code of Conduct as mandated by the Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 and to which all contesting political parties signed up, clearly states that:

“no person may offer any inducement or reward to another person to join or not join a party; to attend or not to attend a public meeting, march, demonstration, rally or other public political events; to vote or not to vote in any particular way (emphasis added), or to refuse a nomination as a candidate or to withdraw as a candidate.”

The persons and parties involved in these incidents are in clear breach of the Electoral Code of Conduct and thus the Municipal Electoral Act. Their actions contravene the rights of freedom of association and the freedom to make political choices that are enshrined in our Constitution, and constitute offences in terms of the Municipal Electoral Act. Voters’ choice should be informed by the electoral platforms of political parties and candidates. The buying of votes undermines elections, which are a fundamental democratic institution.

We take this opportunity to remind political parties and candidates that they have entered into this electoral contest in order to serve the public interest, if elected into public office. Handouts are not a substitute for good governance that is responsive to the real needs of citizens.

Thus we call on:

• Political parties to desist from abusing state resources for the electoral contest and engaging in vote buying, and to ensure that all their candidates adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct.

• The Media to investigate these and other similar incidents to raise public awareness.

•    The Electoral Commission to investigate any alleged incidents that may constitute an offence in terms of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

• Citizens/voters to remember that their votes are their choice and that this cannot be bought.

Their votes are also secret and they are under no obligation to indicate to anyone where they will make their mark on 18 May.

For further information or comment please contact Justin Sylvester on or 0721389949 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0721389949      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Sithembile Mbete on or 0836862554 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0836862554      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Nonhlanhla Chanza on or 0726790448 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0726790448      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.


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