The DA has offered a cash reward of R50 000 for information which could lead to the successful conviction of any persons caught defacing, removing or interfering with the party’s posters, Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA provincial spokesperson, said.
On Wednesday, the KZN provincial chairperson of the EFF caught two men wearing ANC branded clothing removing EFF campaign posters and replacing them with ANC ones in Pietermaritzburg.
Vusi Khoza said he saw the men in Greytown Road dropping EFF posters on the ground.
He said he took pictures of the men and their vehicle to present to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as evidence.
He said the EFF did not want to be in a situation where people resorted to physical violence.
“We are trying to avoid that because we might not be able to control fighters when they retaliate.
“The best thing is for the offending parties to desist from these illegal actions,” said Khoza.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the ANC condemned any form of political intolerance.
“Defacing and stealing of party posters is unfortunate and we are really calling on everyone to respect the right of other people to campaign. Part of campaigning is actually putting up posters,” she said.
Simelane-Zulu said the ANC was also a victim of poster tampering.
“Some political parties, including the EFF, have defaced our posters and at times they steal our backboards and put their posters on top of our posters,” she said.
Simelane-Zulu called on all political parties to ensure that poster campaigning was respected.
The DA opened two cases of theft this week after their posters were ripped off the poles in the uMhlanga CBD and Durban North.
Kohler Barnard said the brazen manner in which the theft was conducted demonstrated the criminality of the act.
The DA is calling on the SAPS to use the CCTV footage and the testimony of witnesses to conduct investigations that could lead to the arrests of the perpetrators.
Patrick Pillay, leader of the Democratic Liberal Congress (DLC), said since the 2019 manifesto launch the party posters had been removed and in some cases defaced throughout eThekwini.
“The DLC had to replace thousands of posters at a cost of over a hundred thousand rand. The party also had to purchase more expensive pole banners to combat the removal of our posters,” said Pillay.
KZN IEC spokesperson Thabani Ngwira said defacing or stealing election posters constituted a breach of the Electoral Code of Conduct and it was an electoral offence.
Ngwira said the purpose of the code was to promote conditions that were conducive to free and fair elections, including tolerance of democratic political activity, free political campaigning and open public debate.
He said parties that breached the code might face prosecution for electoral offences.
“Any person convicted of a criminal contravention of the code is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years,” said Ngwira.
A DA councillor has opened a case at Durban North SAPS after party posters were defaced and stolen.