Four months after the FF Plus had submitted a complaint about the propagandist advertisement boards in ANC colours which the Gauteng provincial government had placed along the roads in the province, an investigation hasn’t even been started, says Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF Plus.
According to Dr. Mulder, the FF Plus had submitted a complaint with the Public Protector (PP) about the 51 huge advertisement boards along the Gauteng roads on the 27th November of last year.
He contested that the boards constituted a serious threat to South Africa’s democracy as it provides free advertising worth millions of rand to the ANC in that taxpayer’s money is being used to favour a single party. This makes a free and fair election this year impossible.
Dr. Mulder says the state of affairs is disappointing as the ANC has for months now been receiving free advertisements and the election is at hand.
“The advertisement campaign which portrays government successes cost more than R2 million per month. These costs are not covered by the ANC but come from the treasury.
“In no other mature democracy will it be allowed that propagandist advertisements in the governing party’s colours are paid for with taxpayer’s money. Opposition parties’ voters are therefore paying for ANC propaganda during an election, which is to the detriment of those opposition parties.
“This makes the playing field totally uneven as other political parties cannot with their own funds compete with the governing party,” Dr. Mulder says.
By February the PP had informed the FF Plus that the issue was referred to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Today the IEC informed the FF Plus that the case had been referred back to the PP.
In her letter to the FF Plus today, the IEC’s chairperson, Adv. Pansy Tlakula, says that the IEC had obtained a legal opinion about the issue and the legal advice was that the IEC does not have the powers or competencies to investigate the complaint.
According to Dr. Mulder, the IEC’s unwillingness to investigate the issue does not augur well for the election.
“The FF Plus is of the opinion that this is an IEC issue as it is directly linked to the election. In the meantime so much time has passed that it would almost be meaningless to start with an investigation at this late stadium before the election.
“To date, the IEC has also not given the FF Plus any feedback about a request on the 12th February of this year to investigate inflammatory comments and incitement to violence against white people under the name if Julius Malema’s EFF.
“From media reports it appears that the IEC had, since last year already, received numerous complaints about inflammatory EFF banners and comments on the EFF’s facebook page, but here as well there has been no action taken.
“It raises serious doubts about this body’s competence to effectively fulfil its role as watchdog in the forthcoming election,” Dr. Mulder says.
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