Freedom Day is a public holiday in South Africa celebrated on 27 April. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. Voting is a basic process that keeps a nation’s governmental system works. It enables the citizens to choose their own government. It also allows the people to choose their representatives in the government. The purpose of every government is to develop and implement various policies for the benefit of its citizens. Understanding voters rights and rights of political parties are equally important to ensure that every vote is counted.
Voters rights and rights of political parties
- Voters have the right to a secret vote – No one may know who you voted for.
- Voters have the right to choose – no one may force, intimidate or bribe a voter to vote or not vote for a party
- Voters have the right to vote – no one may stop you from voting by forcing you to work or by preventing you from getting to the voting station
- Voters have a right to get information from parties – no-one may stop parties or candidates from reaching voters.
Political parties and their candidates are bound by the Electoral Code of Conduct which forms part of the Electoral Act. Political parties that break the Code can be fined, stopped from working in an area, or have their votes in an area cancelled. An individual who break the Code or commit other offences under the Electoral Act can be fined or jailed.
Here are the main Do’s and Don’ts of the Code of Conduct:
- encourage all your members and supporters to be tolerant of other parties
- condemn political violence
- support the right of all parties to campaign freely
- inform the proper authorities of all planned marches and rallies
- actively work with all IEC structures
- co-operate with the police in their investigation of election crime and violence
- use any kind of violence or threats against anyone who supports another party
- remove or destroy any other party’s property, posters or pamphlets
- disrupt another party’s public meeting
- stop other parties from door-to door work or campaigning in your area
- threaten or stop people who want to attend meetings of other parties
- force people to join your party, attend meetings or donate money
- spread false rumours about another party
- use violent language or urge people to use violence against any party or person