Voters’ apparel not restricted: Tlakula
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Pretoria - Voters are allowed to go to voting stations donning political party-branded regalia, electoral commission chairwoman Pansy Tlakula said on Monday.
“We have heard in the past that voters are not allowed to wear t-shirts of their political parties. The law doesn't say that,” she told reporters at the national results operations centre in Pretoria.
“Voters can wear anything. Imagine if a voter turns up with a t-shirt of a political party then we say to them 'go back and dress properly'.
“How many would we turn back?”
She said only party agents were not allowed to wear t-shirts or other apparel indicating their party affiliation. No other activity, besides voting, was allowed inside the boundary of a voting station.
Political parties were allowed to set up camp in the proximity of Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) voting stations and interact with voters.
“Those tables and tents should not impede the access of voters to the voting station. Voters should not be forced to report to those tents,” said Tlakula.
“If a voter is asked to come to a political party tent and if the voter doesn't want to do that, the voter must be left in peace.”
She said parties could still continue to campaign until midnight on Tuesday.
“No political event shall take place on voting day. Voting day is on Wednesday and special voting days are not defined in law as voting days,” said Tlakula.
“Parties who want to give a final push between now and midnight tomorrow can still do so.”
Regarding the taking of photographs of ballot papers in the voting booth, Tlakula warned South Africans that the practice was illegal.
“We heard that people, especially young people, want to take photos of their ballots. The law prohibits taking a marked photo of a ballot. No one is allowed to reproduce a photo of a marked ballot,” she said.
“If young people want to post their photos of voting on Facebook, they must take those photos outside the voting stations. We toyed around with the idea of taking cellphones before people enter voting stations but that would be too much.”
South Africa's fifth national and provincial elections will be held on May 7.
Tlakula said everything was in place at the country's 22 263 voting stations, which would welcome the anticipated 25.39 million registered voters.