Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau has welcomed the Independent Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC) dismissal of a complaint against him by the Democratic Alliance.
Tau’s spokesperson Phindile Chauke said on Saturday, “This is after the opposition party in its malicious smear campaign bid against mayor Tau alleged that the city and its leader were misappropriating state funds to campaign for the African National Congress through exorbitant advertising spend ahead of the local government elections on the 3rd of August.”
In a response to the IEC on the DA’s complaint, which was lodged with the electoral body earlier in July, the City said the DA was against the local government institution engaging and communicating with residents as per the provisions of Chapter 5, Sections 23 and 37 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act.
At the centre of the opposition party’s complaint was an advert on the city’s milestones and achievements, which was first distributed on media platforms in March 2016 with the tagline, “Clearly, the City of Johannesburg is in good hands”.
The content of the advert was designed to instill confidence among Johannesburg residents, investors, and potential investors, as opposed to the allegation that it was an “abuse of power” to campaign for the ANC.
“It was a mere standard and annual communication of successes and achievements of the previous financial year of a metropolitan municipality led by a competent administration – with a visionary and strategic council and an executive led by mayor Tau,” Chauke said.
“The advert was first distributed as early as the 3rd of March 2016, which was long before the date of the local government elections was announced.”
The election date was announced by President Jacob Zuma on April 6 and published in the Government Gazette on May 23.
“Clearly the DA failed to lodge a complaint in March 2016 and waited until July 2016. On this basis alone, the complaint was indeed with unwarranted malicious intent against the City and its leadership. This has since been echoed by the IEC, which, in its decision to dismiss the DA’s complaint, stated that ‘the advert complained of appears to be in the course and scope of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council’s operations’.”
The electoral body further stated: “While the advert coincides with the campaign period for the elections, it promotes the offices of the executive mayor and the MMC for health in their capacities as officials of the City of Johannesburg and not as members of the ANC.”
And therefore, the IEC found that “the advert complained of does not constitute an abuse of power and a contravention of the provisions of clause 9 of the Electoral Code of Conduct”.
– African News Agency (ANA)