Newly formed party in a battle over posters
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Cape Town -The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said it will lodge a complaint with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the Western Cape against the recently-formed African Restoration Alliance (ARA), for breach of electoral code, on Thursday.
The party accused the ARA of refusing to return their posters from storage after they left the party, and of gluing their campaign posters over ACDP poster boards.
But ARA said it was an independent contractor who had made the mistake.
“The independent contractor has acknowledged the mistake he has made and is correcting his mistake. The boards are owned by a third party,” they said.
ARA, which is fronted by the ACDP’s former national executive committee chairperson Jerome Swartz, was formed after his resignation in October last year. He had cited bribery and corruption in the party as a reason for his resignation.
ACDP’s national elections manager Grant Haskin said they will lodge the complaint with the IEC and ask them to deal with the matter.
“The ACDP bought thousands of boards at great expense in 2019 and the posters were stored at one of our members' churches after the election, for the local government elections coming up. Then this crowd left the ACDP in a huff, because they couldn’t get their way. Because we refused to accommodate them in terms of their demands and what they wanted, they left. We were very excited about that. Everything has settled down since they left, things have changed for the better and we believe we are better off without them," he said.
"Shortly after they left, we took inventory of what had been stored at their premises. I then approached them and asked them to give us access to their storage, so that we could take our property back, and they refused several times. We decided we are not going to make a big issue out of it and we are going to wait for this to happen.
“Now, our way forward is to complain to the IEC in the Western Cape and ask them to deal with it. This is very clearly a breach of electoral code, in terms of the expectations placed on parties and the way they are meant to conduct themselves during their campaign period," said Haskin
Meanwhile, ward 57 councillor Paddy Chapple said a large number of DA boards, calling for people to register, have also gone missing.
“The leadership of the DA have assured me that if I provide evidence of DA poster boards being used by the ARA, they will charge them. I am in the process of checking the ARA boards, in view of the fact that a large number of DA boards, calling upon citizens to register, have gone missing in Ward 57,” said Chapple.
Chapple said robust democratic contestation was part and parcel of South African political life.
“But it is sad to see that a new party, the ARA, has already indicated their lack of ethical and legal behaviour, by pasting their message on poster boards that are not their property,” said Chapple.