Keep the campaign clean

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WE probably can expect the election campaign to get dirty in the run-up to August 3.

Ndlambe has been quiet compared to other areas which have suffered violent protest against the candidates foisted on them by the ruling party, or violent conflict between EFF and ANC members.

Here, the greatest conflict has been in Talk of the Town’s letters pages, with the parties seemingly content to run their campaigns through letters to the editor.

Each time DA caucus leader Ray Schenk sent a letter that probably could have been used by opposition leaders in any number of municipalities around the country, the ANC’s scribe, Phindile Faxi, wrote a sometimes lengthy and increasingly scathing response.

But if this is the most hostility we experience this election, we can be grateful.

More recently the small “new” kid on the block, the ACDP, also saw value in writing letters to the paper and we are glad we could provide a forum for diverse political views.

We have also tried to give exposure to all parties contesting wards in Ndlambe by introducing their candidates, and some have been more eager and forthcoming than others. It is good to put faces to the people who want to be our representatives, and share some insight into their lives.

If each party is able to campaign feely and get its point across, then democracy is served.

But dirty tactics were evident in the defacing of UDM posters in Nemato wards last week. This kind of political vandalism is simply cowardly bullying. It is the tactic of people who cannot countenance rivals, but who reveal their own fear and desperation that they might lose support, if not a seat.

This is Zanu-PF type politicking.

There is no proof of who the culprits are, but local UDM leader Mxolisi Payi has his suspicions.

The incident is ironic as Payi’s own household is a model of political tolerance – he is a UDM supporter and his wife votes ANC. They can disagree and still love each other. Would that our society could do the same.

According to the electoral code of conduct, destroying, removing or defacing posters of other parties is punishable as a criminal offence.

We hope the IEC investigates this incident and any others which arise, and that guilty parties are prosecuted.

We hope South Africa experiences free and fair elections, and voters are fully informed and unintimidated when they make their cross next to the party of their choice on the ballot, that we get capable councillors of integrity and that governance improves.

– Jon Houzet

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