The Patriotic Alliance’s (PA’s) election posters have generated a lot of comments on Twitter because they are by far the most eye-catching of all parties’ in local government campaigns this year.
The Patriotic Alliance's election posters are really something. pic.twitter.com/ZyCKEYKaYn
— Nicole Lee Graham (@NicoleGraham031) July 25, 2016
Now, however, one particular photo appears to have the party embroiled in a pre-election battle with the DA that may ultimately see it disqualified from the August 3 elections or facing some other sanction.
— shamielah Dollie (@SdShamiela) July 25, 2016
The DA alleged on Twitter that the PA had postered over the DA’s posters. This may have been done to save money (those boards don’t come cheap), but, if true, it would not only be theft but an infringement of election laws that prohibit one party from tampering with the election promotion materials of any other party.
There have been other photos on social media, however, to suggest that if the PA were to be disqualified for this, then other, slightly larger parties would also have to be subjected to the same censure.
— VB. Giovanni (@bruna_giovanni) July 17, 2016
The trouble comes in proving that the PA was the political party concerned that is responsible for the “re-postering”.
The PA, for example, is now alleging that it is the DA itself that took the PA’s election posters and stuck them on to the DA’s boards in order to discredit the PA and perhaps even get them disqualified – its president, Gayton McKenzie, told The Citizen that it must have been the DA behind it as he had not been aware of anyone in his party stealing DA posters.
He denied that there could have been any plan to steal the DA’s materials and re-poster them.
He said he had also heard that the DA was taking the PA to the IEC, and that it was trying to get the party disqualified.
“They are scared of us. They know we are gaining traction and that we are going to hurt them at the polls. This is a sign of DA desperation.”
When The Citizen called the DA for comment, the party’s representative at the IEC Mike Moriarty confirmed that he was aware that, particularly in Eersterust, Tshwane, the PA had been “pasting posters illegally”.
He said it was an infringement of not only bylaws, but also of the Electoral Act. He wanted the “offensive posters” to be removed immediately, but it would be up to the IEC to decide on what ultimately needed to be done in terms of sanctions. He said it was the sort of matter that could end up in the Electoral Court.
“We want the PA to either comply with the law or be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”