The ACDP has asked the Independent Electoral Council (IEC) to urgently investigate a “fear-mongering-, misleading- and disingenuous” DA advertising campaign which tells voters that a vote for a small party is a wasted vote.
The ACDP’s view is supported by political scientist Steven Friedman who says in a Facebook post that the DA’s claim is false as the municipal vote is strictly proportional so voting for another party does not split the opposition vote. Responding to an sms message from the DA, Friedman says: “It is, to put it mildly, unfortunate when parties try to gain advantage by feeding voters disinformation about the election rules.”
The ACDP calls on the DA to admit their transgressions, immediately cease this particular campaign messaging and apologise to the electorate and all other parties contesting the elections, says Grant Haskin, ACDP National Elections Manager, and Media and Communications Director.
The DA is using an sms campaign, speeches and adverts on radio and TV around the country, to make its false claim, creating fear in voters that their votes for other parties will cause the African National Congress (ANC) to win control of their municipalities, and therefore that only a vote for the DA will ensure this does not happen, says the ACDP.
It says it believes that the DA is transgressing the Electoral Act in the following respects:
1. Section 89.2(b): “no person may publish false information with the intention of creating hostility or fear in order to influence the outcome of an election,” and
2. Section 99.2 (c) of the Electoral Code of Conduct: “every registered party must promote and support efforts in terms of this act to educate voters.”
The ACDP statement continues: “In our respectful view the purpose of feeding voters disinformation about the electoral system and rules, is to influence the outcome of the election in their favour only, and to the detriment of every other contesting political party, the rights of the electorate, the entire electoral system and rules, and the Constitution of South Africa.
“According to South Africa’s Constitution, Chapter 1: Founding Provisions: “The Republic of South Africa is founded on the following values: Section 1.(d)… a multi-party system of democratic government, to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.”
“We believe it is for this reason that the Constitution requires an electoral system that results, in general, in proportional representation. In fact, in relation to these Local Government Elections on 03 August 2016, the election of members to all Municipal Councils must be in accordance with national legislation which must prescribe a system of proportional representation (Section. 157).
“The ACDP further believes that neither a one nor a two party state (quite the opposite of a multi-party system of democratic government) would be in the interest of a diverse electorate where we each have a right to be heard and represented in government by the political party of our choice. The DA advertisements are therefore misleading to the extent that they undermine South Africa’s multi-party system of democratic government; to the extent that they do not recognise the diversity of the people of South Africa united in our diversity, and to the extent that they seek to undermine the proportional representation electoral system required for the achievement thereof.
Haskin says the ACDP will wait until it receives a response from the IEC before it considers possible further action, such as laying a complaint with the South African Police Service.
In a recent article, ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley writes that a high level party decision has been taken that the ACDP will cooperate with the DA if they need the numbers to make a majority.
She writes: “A vote for the ACDP will not be a vote against the DA. A vote for the ACDP at this election will actually ensure ‘a better DA’ in that they will have to at least consider an ACDP perspective on issues when taking decisions where they will need the numbers.”