Parties pledge ethical conduct

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
More Matshediso

Johannesburg - More than 10 political party leaders on Wednesday signed the Charter on Election Ethics to commit to play their part in ensuring that free and fair local government elections take place in August.

The signing of the charter occurred on Wednesday at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. The leaders represented parties that will be contesting the forthcoming local government elections, which will take place on 3 August 2016.

South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Deputy Chairperson Mpho Nawa called on political parties to ensure that they build a better country.

“Let’s build a country that all of us can be proud of,” said Nawa.

Nawa said although there were challenges in the political system of the country, there is a need to look at improving ethical leadership across political parties.

Political parties, he said, were brought together by the Moral Regeneration Movement and SALGA, with the Electoral Commission’s support.

The movement states that ethical election is based on political parties’ acceptance of others; the electoral commission’s neutrality towards parties; responsibility to duty, including voters and organisations; accountability to the people; freedom for everyone to vote as they choose; political campaigning that promotes tolerance and integrity; a voting system can be trusted and respect for the election outcome.

The charter provides guidelines for good conduct and ethical voting for government, political parties, the IEC, youth and the media to ensure a peaceful and non-violent environment as the country gears for its fourth democratic municipal elections.

The charter outlines a number of values and ethics that political parties need to promote, support and adhere to during the elections. It requires them to strive to elect candidates who are ethical, principled and competent.

Guest speaker at the signing event, Professor Paulus Zulu of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said elections were just a part of democracy, but the essence of democracy is the capacity to deliver. He said today was most significant as political parties committed themselves to free and fair, ethical elections.

Zulu said there needs to be an emphasis on ethics in politics.

“Once we get to grips with ethics and the more we know that all behaviour has to be ethically guided, the better for our country. There can be no democracy without ethics. Democracy swims in a sea of ethics,” he said. -