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Cape Town - The DA has apologised for printing election pamphlets misrepresenting the ANC during the recent by-election in the North West town of Tlokwe.
The official opposition admitted in Parliament on Wednesday that it distributed false ANC posters carrying disparaging messages that denounced ANC mayoral candidate Maphetle Maphetle.
The ANC had called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to investigate and punish the DA for what it described as the “lowest and dirtiest” campaigning by the official opposition.
“Last weekend, we deployed our MPs in the Tlokwe municipality, where we had the misfortune of having to witness first-hand the DA’s desperate and dirty electioneering tactics,” said ANC chief whip Stone Sizani.
He said the MPs uncovered the DA’s publication and distribution of pamphlets “purporting to be from the ANC and bearing our name, logo and colours, and yet carrying disparaging, anti-ANC rhetoric”.
He said this illustrated the “lowest and dirtiest form of campaigning”.
“The DA national office’s silence on this blatant violation of the Electoral Act by its Tlokwe representatives, who have publicly accepted responsibility and apologised, is curious. It confirms the suspicion that this pamphlet was ordered from the top.
“We call on the party to publicly condemn such illegal acts and assure South Africans that they will play clean in next year’s elections,” said Sizani.
He said the DA’s conduct in Tlokwe was a “sign of desperation by a party that is having difficulty selling its racially skewed policies and condescending lies regarding its history to the majority of South Africans”.
“The IEC must swiftly investigate and punish this conduct,” said Sizani.
DA North West leader Chris Hattingh acknowledged the “mistake” and blamed the printing of anti-ANC posters on an “overenthusiastic” staff member.
“Overall, I thought this issue was resolved. The pamphlet never got final approval and was printed due to oversight. The only wrong thing was the ANC logo. The ANC alerted us and we apologised. We don’t ever print other parties’ logos on our pamphlets,” said Hattingh.
He added that the DA stood by the essence of the document, which basically stated that if people voted for the ANC, they would be voting for the return of ousted Tlokwe mayor Maphetle.
Maphetle, who is now an ordinary councillor in Tlokwe, stands accused of corruption and fraud.
The highly contested municipality is due to hold its second by-election on Wednesday.
This follows the ANC’s resounding victory in the by-election last month.