The City of Johannesburg (COJ) says it has asked the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to dismiss the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) allegations that it used public money to campaign for the African National Congress (ANC).
Earlier in July the DA laid a complaint with the IEC against incumbent Johannesburg Mayor and ANC mayoral candidate Parks Tau for allegedly abusing COJ funds “to shamelessly advertise himself and the ANC”.
Phindile Chauke, the spokesperson Mayor Tau on Wednesday said the COJ called on the IEC to dismiss the DA’s “false and mischievous allegations of misappropriation of public funds to campaign for the ANC”.
“At the centre of the political party’s complaint is an advert of the City of Johannesburg’s milestones and achievements, which was first distributed in March 2016 – with the tagline; ‘Clearly, the City of Johannesburg is in good hands’,” said Chauke in a statement.
The COJ said the DA was against the City engaging with residents “as per the provisions of Chapter 5, sections 23 – 37 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 2000”.
The advert was designed to instill confidence among Johannesburg residents, investors and potential investors, as opposed to the DA allegation that it is an “abuse of power” to campaign for the ANC, said the COJ.
On 8 July 2016, the DA complained to the IEC about a radio advert it said was paid for by the COJ “claiming that Parks Tau is a great leader”.
“It states an award he has been nominated for, and concludes by saying, ‘clearly the City of Johannesburg is in good hands’. This is clearly an excessive and gratuitous depiction of an office bearer of the City, and clearly creates a perception that the advertisement promotes the Mayor as an individual,” the DA said when it laid the complaint.
However, Chauke responded on Wednesday saying: “The City disputes this allegation. The advert is 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 Parks Tau”.
She added: “It is unfortunate that the DA calls for the IEC to ‘instruct Mr Tau and the ANC to stop contravening the [Electoral] Code immediately, specifically by desisting with gratuitous and excessive advertising, using public funds to promote himself and the ANC whom he represents’”.
Chauke said the advert was first distributed as early as the 3rd of March 2016 “long before the date of the local government elections was announced”.
The date for local government elections was announced by the President Jacob Zuma, on 6 April 2016 and published in a government gazette of 23 May 2016.
“Clearly the DA failed to lodge a complaint in March 2016 and waited until July 2016. On this basis alone, the complaint is indeed with unwarranted malicious intent against the City and its leadership,” said Chauke.
“It is disingenuous of the DA – having failed to discredit Mayor Tau against his strong record of service delivery in the past five years – to resort to dragging the IEC into its desperate campaign to mislead Johannesburg residents.”
Earlier in July the DA claimed Tau’s administration spent more than R15 million on newspaper adverts in April, May and July 2016, to promote the mayor and his administration ahead of the local government elections.
Source – TheSouthAfrica