Dirty tactics

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Political opponents deface UDM posters

BREAKING THE CODE: The chairman of the UDM’s regional structure, Mxolisi Payi, has complained about underhand tactics by political opponents as the municipal elections approach. Altogether 21 out of the UDM’s 25 posters in Thornhill and Nemato were ripped – while DA and ANC posters were left untouched Picture: ROB KNOWLES
BREAKING THE CODE: The chairman of the UDM’s regional structure, Mxolisi Payi, has complained about underhand tactics by political opponents as the municipal elections approach. Altogether 21 out of the UDM’s 25 posters in Thornhill and Nemato were ripped – while DA and ANC posters were left untouched.                                Picture: ROB KNOWLES

POLITICAL vandals have ripped and defaced a number of election posters placed by the United Democratic Movement leading up to the August 3 local government election.

The chairman of the Cacadu regional structure of the UDM, Mxolisi Payi, expressed great disappointment when he noticed that, out of 25 UDM posters erected in Nemato and Thornhill, 21 had been badly damaged or defaced.

Currently the UDM is contesting five wards across Ndlambe, including Ward 6 and Ward 8. The UDM recently, alongside other parties, signed the electoral code of conduct contained in the Electoral Act, committing itself to fair campaigning in the build up to the election.

“The ink was not even dry when I was informed of the damaged posters,” Payi said. “What is strange is that the ANC as well as DA posters are still standing, so it’s not a random act of vandalism.” Although Payi does not know who is responsible for the anti-social behaviour, he believes it is a party threatened by the UDM in the five wards they are contesting.

“Considering the other posters are still there I believe it is the people who are most threatened by the UDM – the ANC,” Payi said. He described the incident as “dirty tactics”. “It is very unfortunate that people act like this. We must expose this type of behaviour. The guilty are creating no-go areas and that is not in line with the code of conduct we signed,” he said.

According to the electoral code of conduct, destroying, removing or defacing posters of other parties is punishable as a criminal offence and culprits could be fined or could, in severe cases, receive up to 10 years in prison. Moreover, depending on the circumstances, political parties can be stopped from working in an area and can have their votes cancelled or even have their party registration cancelled.

TotT attempted to get comment from the Independent Electoral Commission about the incident, but received no response.

Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa also did not respond to queries.

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