Campaigners should avoid electrical poles – Eskom

Political campaign posters in Mangaung.

Political parties are advised against placing campaign posters on electrical structures. This is according to Eskom spokesperson, Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the sixth democratic general election will be held in May.

“Eskom cautions all political parties against the dangerous practice of placing campaign posters on electrical structures. This includes electricity poles, meter boxes and mini-substations,” said Jansen van Rensburg. “When a person gets close to or touches an electrical structure, it may result in a flash-over or electrical contact. This can cause serious injuries or even be fatal,” she added.

According to the spokesperson of local electricity distributor Centlec, Lele Mamatu, the practice of attaching posters onto electrical poles with wires can be especially hazardous. “We want to caution all the parties involved that use our poles to be careful. In fact, we would like to discourage that but with the challenges that exist we are aware that they use our poles to put up their posters,” he said.

Although, there have not yet been accidents in relation to this practice Mamatu explained that the issue would be raised with the Electoral Commission of South Africa. “So far there have not been incidents but we have to be proactive and not wait for such things to happen. We are participating in the IEC Election Committee and this is one of the issues that will be raised when we have meetings,” he said.

Free State Communications Officer for the IEC, Mathabo Rasengane, explained that although the regulation of the placing of campaign posters did not lie with them when it comes to posters, their main concern was the wrongful removal of posters. “Our code of conduct states that members of political parties should not take down the posters of other parties. They should be allowed the freedom to campaign,” said Rasengane.

The Free State Code of Conduct will be signed by political parties on 12 April 2019 at the new elections hub. “Parties will make a pledge to abide by the Code of Conduct of the elections on that day,” added Rasengane. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele