EFF wins first round of its Cape Town election banner battle

The EFF has won the first leg of its election banner battle with the City of Cape Town after it had been told to remove them for not complying with a city bylaw.

2021-10-19 10:25:00 PM

The EFF has won the first leg of its election banner battle with the City of Cape Town after it had been told to remove them for not complying with a city bylaw.

The EFF has won the first leg of its election banner battle with the City of Cape Town after it had been told to remove them for not complying with a city bylaw.

The city’s Catherine Overmeyer, operations manager responsible for urban management, said the city’s rules for posters during voter registration, general elections and by election processes only catered for posters and not for banners, apply during an official election period and outside that period, standard “Outdoor Advertising and Signage Bylaw rules and fees” would be applicable.

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Overmeyer said approved election rules that are distributed each year to all political parties specifically provide for posters to be erected during the election period and not banners. All political parties had been abiding by these rules, she said.The display of banners on city light poles for political parties to encourage the public to “vote for” a particular political party were not permitted on the city’s light poles, another city official said in an e-mail sent to the party.

Officials argued that schedule 10 of the Outdoor Advertising and Signage Bylaw relates to the display of banners in the City of Cape Town, but these are only permitted for functions or events and does not make provision for electioneering purposes.The EFF did not abide with the city’s request, refused to remove the banners and approached the court. It argued that section 19(1)(c) of the constitution affords citizens, and by extension political parties, the right headtopics.com

to campaign for a political party or cause.The court agreed, saying theEFF had not only established a prima facie right, but a clear right.“The EFF has advanced factual allegations that supports how the city’s bylaw will infringe its section 19(1)(c) right and why it needs protection.

“Threatening to remove the banners of the EFF on the basis of a statute that is under constitutional attack threatens the EFF’s right to campaign and will lead to disenfranchisement rather than the opposite,” said the court.The EFF is thus entitled to protection of its right, it said.

“It is this court’s view, even though a harm analysis is not necessary, that objectively the harm the EFF will suffer from removal of their banners will be irreparable.”The court saidthe relief sought by the EFF was strictly necessary and clearly in the interest of justice. 

“It is imperative that political parties be allowed to campaign freely within the bounds of the law. Parties like the EFF will be more adversely affected by the city’s bylaw during an election. The bylaw prima facie seems to limit a political party’s ability to use all possible means to campaign for a local election.” headtopics.com

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