Political parties have signed the electoral code - is this a step towards accountability or mere symbolism?

Published Apr 20, 2024


As the countdown to South Africa's 2024 National, the recent signing ceremony of the Electoral Code of Conduct by political parties and independent candidates marks a pivotal moment in the electoral landscape.

However, there are many unanswered concerns regarding the effectiveness of these symbolic actions in maintaining true accountability and integrity during the election process.

In an interview with political analyst Sipho Seepe, insights were shared regarding the significance of the signed code of conduct and the mechanisms necessary for holding political entities accountable.

“The aim of signing the code of conduct is to encourage political members to adhere to the rules, serves as a public commitment, promise to uphold the principles of fairness and respect within the electoral arena”, said Seepe.

While acknowledging the value of maintaining discipline within political parties, Seepe went into further detail on the possible consequences for individuals who break from the established policies.

“The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) should swiftly address any disruptions during the electoral process by involving law enforcement agencies. Those found guilty of attempting to disrupt the elections should face legal consequences”

Seepe emphasized that the IEC has a proactive role in upholding responsibility and order and that strict measures must be taken against any violations.

“Opening a case against individuals or parties that attempt to disrupt the election sends a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated”.

With the signing ceremony in April marking a formal commitment from political entities, the focus now shifts to the practical implementation of the electoral code of conduct. Beyond signatures and pledges lies the fundamental challenge of enforcement and oversight.

As the IEC prepares for the upcoming elections, ensuring transparency and accountability remains paramount.

To protect the integrity of the election process, thorough screening procedures are crucial, as demonstrated by the recent attention given to candidates who appear on numerous party lists.

In the lead-up to the polling day on May 29, 2024, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on the electoral process, with expectations of a fair and credible outcome.

However, the true test lies not only in the signing of documents but in the steadfast commitment to upholding democratic principles at every stage of the electoral journey.