EFF leader Julius Malema is defiant that his party will not observe the Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings while campaigning for the upcoming local government elections on November 1.
EFF LEADER Julius Malema is adamant that his party will not observe the Covid-19 regulations at public gatherings while campaigning for the November 1 local government elections.
The uproar came after the EFF attracted more than 15,000 people to Gandhi Square in Johannesburg during the launch of the party’s manifesto on Sunday.
The DA fired the first salvo and urged the Electoral Commission (IEC) and Minister of Police Bheki Cele to act against the EFF contravening the National Disaster Management Act (DMA) for which, under lockdown level 5, all public and outdoor gatherings may have a maximum attendance of no more than 500 people.
On Monday, Malema was still defiant amid the DA laying a formal complaint with the IEC.
In his reaction, Malema said: “They must start with Cyril Ramaphosa. Cyril had a campaign in Soweto and a lot of people attended it. He also had a campaign in Tembisa yesterday and more people attended there, too. Why are these rules only for the EFF?” Malema asked.
He was adamant that the DA failed to make similar accusations against the ANC, saying: “We are not going to be outsmarted.
“We made it known long ago that we are not going to observe these regulations.”
Malema was speaking during the unveiling of his party’s first election billboard in Kempton Park while the DA was busy serving the IEC with a notice of illegal campaigning, unlawful electoral behaviour and the criminal violation of gathering rules against the EFF.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said the EFF’s launch was a Covid-19 super-spreader event.
“The IEC now has no choice but to sanction the EFF for breaking the law, and breaking the rules of this election. The IEC cannot show favour or partisanship to the EFF, and it must uphold and apply the law,” said Mazzone.
“In our estimation, the only logical sanction to the EFF is to disqualify them from contesting this election.
“It is a most egregious, serious and fundamental violation of the election period to hold an illegal campaign event.”
Mazzone said there was no need for the “IEC to conduct any investigation or review as the images and videos from the EFF’s event clearly demonstrate them violating lockdown regulations such as mask-wearing, social distancing and the 500 legal limit for outdoor gatherings”.
“The law, limiting gatherings to 500 persons, is the law. Unless the IEC holds the EFF to full account, it cannot be seen to facilitate free and fair elections. There cannot be one set of rules for one political party and another set of rules for the others.
“The EFF is not above the law and the IEC has a constitutional obligation to protect the integrity of the elections and to shield our democracy from those who seek to destabilise it,” Mazzone said.
She said the IEC must do what is right and hold the EFF accountable for its actions by disqualifying the party from participating in the upcoming elections.
– Political Bureau