DA KZN ready to abide by IEC Code of Conduct ahead of upcoming elections

Issued by Chris Pappas – DA KZN Premier Candidate
17 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached speech delivered by DA KZN Premier Candidate, Chris Pappas, during the IEC’s Code of Conduct signing ceremony today in Durban.

Please also find attached pictures (here, here, and here) and accompanying audio.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1994, amidst fear, political violence and uncertainty, our country went to our first democratic elections. Despite the uncertainty, there was an overwhelming sense of hope that one system, characterized by exploitation and exclusion, would be replaced by something that would be inclusive and bring opportunities for all. People had courage. Courage to believe in something better and courage to vote. Despite the fear and uncertainty, people went out in their millions to exercise their right to choose their government.

On the 29th of May, faced with many challenges and fears, the people of KZN again go to the polls to hire and fire their leaders. Despite the fear and uncertainty, people must have the courage to go out and make their choice.

Today we mark an important commitment to uphold democracy through the signing of the Independent Electoral Commission’s Code of Conduct. This ceremony is not merely a formality; it is a pledge to every citizen of South Africa that we are dedicated to maintaining a democratic process that is fair, respectful, and peaceful.

As the Democratic Alliance’s Premier candidate for the 2024 general elections, I urge all political parties and their representatives to ensure an electoral process that is peaceful, fair, and credible. Our adherence to these principles is essential for every voter to feel safe and informed, free from intimidation or violence.

KwaZulu-Natal’s rich history, some of which is marked by political violence as well as our unique leadership structures including traditional leadership and the Zulu Royal Household, requires us to conduct our political activities with consideration and respect for our local customs and authority structures. We have seen in the recent past how outbursts and abuse of authority has caused strains and escalated underlying tensions. These incidents are regrettable and should be avoided.

It is important for us, as leaders, to set an example for our supporters by conducting ourselves in a manner that upholds dignity and promotes tolerance, even in competition. This includes conducting ourselves with respect in our roles in government and in legislatures. We must not forget that whether on the political field or as mayors, MECs or leaders of parties, we have a responsibility to foster a non-racial country that values diversity and upholds the rule of law. This includes on all platforms, whether debates, in councils: whichever mic we are speaking into.

I also call on the media and civil society to help maintain public confidence in the electoral process by providing balanced, accurate reporting and by highlighting efforts to uphold democracy while identifying any actions that might undermine it. With the rise of fake news and disinformation, the role of the media, especially in verifying information and objective reporting, becomes a cornerstone of fairness. The power some have to abuse information threatens to harm our democracy. We have a collective responsibility to fight misinformation and fake news.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of focus on KwaZulu-Natal because of the importance of our province. This puts more pressure on the IEC, media, law enforcement, and political parties. Eyes are on KZN.

To the people of KwaZulu-Natal and to all South Africans, I assure you that the Democratic Alliance will fully adhere to this Code. We commit to participating in this election with integrity and to accepting the outcome, recognizing that our commitment to national unity transcends political differences.

As we sign this Code of Conduct, let us remember that our actions today will shape the future of our nation. Let us demonstrate that South Africa’s democracy is strong and inclusive.

As the political landscape shifts and our democracy develops, we are bound to see significant changes. These changes are not bad, but we must as political parties approach them with maturity.

Together, let’s make the 2024 general elections a model of democratic excellence in Africa and the world.

Thank you.