Shorter political ads but more of them ahead of SA’s 2024 Elections

  • Icasa has made amendments to the National and Provincial Party Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Regulations of 2014 to include independent candidates.
  • South Africans can expect more political adverts during the day but these ads will be shorter per the amendments.
  • With campaigning set to accelerate, South Africans would do well to take every statement made by political parties and independent candidates with a spoon of salt.

With the date for National and Provincial Elections set for 2024 and the voting roll closed, the arduous process of political parties and independent candidates vying for your vote has begun.

As with all elections, campaigning is governed by a set of rules to ensure that political parties aren’t using illegal or shady tactics to get the votes they want. To that end, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has amended the National and Provincial Party Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Regulations of 2014. These amendments were published on 26th February 2024.

The authority consulted with stakeholders in October 2023 before amending the regulations and these amendments must be followed by broadcasting service licensees as well as political parties and independent candidates.

The amendments are as follows:

  1. Party Election Broadcasts (PEBs) are now known as Political Election Broadcasts so as to include independent candidates.
  2. The duration of PEBs has been shortened to 40 seconds (down from 50 seconds) and broadcasters can now run 12 PEBs per day instead of the 10 slots assigned previously.
  3. Broadcasting service licensees that intend to run PEBs must inform Icasa of this within 20 calendar days of the publishing of these amendments. After these 20 days Icasa will publish a list of broadcasting service licensees that will run PEBs/
  4. Those contesting the elections should submit their PEBs to broadcasters within five days following the publication of the list of broadcasters running PEBs.
  5. Broadcasters that reject a PEB must give the party or independent candidate a reason for the rejection within five days following the rejection.

“ICASA will undertake comprehensive monitoring of elections coverage, to ensure adherence by BSLs to the Regulations and license conditions,” says committee chairperson Nompucuko Nontombana.

On Tuesday, deputy president Paul Mashatile presented guidelines for African nations to follow during elections with a focus on social media and the spread of misinformation. The deputy president waxed lyrically about the threat misinformation poses to free and fair elections around the world.

“We have a significant obligation to educate our population about the risks associated with misinformation concerning elections since false claims can erode trust and provoke a wave of instability in our communities. We should use social media with responsibility to ensure that the content we share is credible and accurate,” Mashatile said.

Ironically, the ANC has been slammed for spreading misinformation before campaigning even began. This includes President Ramaphosa who stated that without the ANC social grants and the National Financial Aid Scheme would be scrapped if it wasn’t re-elected. This is simply posturing as it would be a bizarre move for any party or candidate that replaces the ANC to scrap poverty alleviation programmes.

Throughout the elections, we highly recommend making use of Real 411 to report misinformation or to verify whether statements are real or false.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Darryn van der Walt]


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