A week ago, the Minister of Provincial and Local Liaison announced the date of the municipal elections. This officially marked the beginning of the formal election period.
During this time, it is normal practice in most democracies that particular attention is paid to ensuring that government communication structures and officers do not act in a way that advantages or disadvantages participants in the electoral contest.
Prior to the national elections in 1999, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) developed guidelines on government communications during the formal election period.
On 31 March 1999, Cabinet decided on a possible "framework to be formulated to regulate against the dissemination of government information during election periods" in a way that is to the advantage of one political party and to the disadvantage of others. It adopted the Guidelines on 28 April 1999.
The Guidelines remain relevant and are meant to assist government communicators and other relevant public servants in determining the specific parameters within which they should conduct their work in the election period.
The Guidelines have been decided upon at the initiative of Government. The IEC may, independently take whatever relevant steps it deems necessary on this matter.
The full version of the guidelines is available at https://www.gcis.gov.za/content/newsroom/media-releases/media-releases/guidelines-government-communication-during-municipal-election-period. You are therefore invited to visit the site for further information.
Mr Faizal Dawjee
Cell: 083 254 2923
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)