The African Christian Democratic Party has lambasted the Democratic Alliance for its “anti-small parties campaign” and urged the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to act speedily on the matter.
“The ACDP notes the DA has continued with its despicable anti-small parties campaign,” ACDP national chairwoman JoAnne Downs said on Saturday.
“It is utterly contemptuous of the DA to continue to exploit the misunderstandings of the electorate of South Africa’s proportional representation electoral system, and deliberately mislead the voters by driving this fear-based campaign that ‘a vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote’ and ‘Don’t waste your vote on a small party that will split the vote and allow the ANC back in’.
“These local government elections [on August 3] are wholly proportional. No vote is wasted because the electoral system of proportional representation is designed that way, and the DA knows that. Yet the DA continues to make these false claims driving fear into the electorate.
“We wish to remind the DA that a multi-party governance arrangement of small parties helped make Helen Zille the mayor of Cape Town in 2006, and has helped the DA retain governing control of Swellendam and various other local municipalities in the Western Cape since then. The DA has benefited from the votes smaller parties have gained in previous elections,” Downs said.
Turning to the IEC, she said its mandate was to ensure free and fair elections. The Constitution was framed to ensure that every voice was heard through a proportional representation system – and the IEC should be defending that system, as the Electoral Act expected.
“Yesterday [Friday], a week after first receiving our complaint, the IEC informed us they had appointed a legal firm ‘as part of a panel of legal advisors to assist the office of electoral offences in the electoral commission to conduct investigations of complaints of alleged transgressions of prohibited conduct in respect of the electoral code of conduct and to make recommendations to the electoral commission on the merits of the complaints’,” she said.
“While we are pleased that this is a step in the right direction, we are deeply disappointed that it has taken the IEC a week to do so given the urgency of the matter and the proximity of the election. By the time its investigation is completed the elections will be long over and the damage done.
“In dragging its feet in this way, on a matter we have complained about in [the] 2014 and 2011 elections, the IEC is basically allowing the DA’s anti-democratic misinformation and fearmongering to continue – to their benefit, and at the expense of every smaller party, the Electoral Act, and the democratic system that is foundational to our Constitution,” Downs said.