National power utility Eskom has warned political parties to refrain from placing their campaign posters for the forthcoming general elections on electrical poles and other infrastructure as it might be dangerous and could result in severe injuries or loss of life.
In a statement, Eskom spokesperson Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg said the company was aware that different political parties were placing posters on electrical infrastructure to promote their organisations as they gear up for the May 8 national and provincial elections, but warned the practice could be dangerous.
“Eskom cautions all political parties against the dangerous practice of placing campaign posters on electrical structures,” said Van Rensburg in a statement released on Wednesday.
The structures in question include electricity poles, meter boxes and mini-substations.
According to Van Rensburg, when a person gets close to or touches an electrical structure, it may result in a flash-over or electrical contact which could cause serious injuries or may even be fatal.
“Only authorised personnel are allowed to climb or work on these structures. Section 15 (3) of the Electrical Machinery Regulations states: ‘No person shall encroach in person or with an object on the minimum safety clearances prescribed in sub-regulation (1), or require or permit any person to do so except by permission of the supplier or user operating the power-line’,” she explained.
The provincial spokesperson said attaching posters to an electrical structure is not only a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but also puts the lives of valuable employees and volunteers at risk.
“Eskom cares about the public’s safety and requests political parties to refrain from attaching posters to electrical structures to avoid injury and loss of life,” she added.
Political parties have intensified their campaigns in recent weeks and are each trying to paint different towns and cities with their colours in a bid to have their messages standing out and attract more votes from the country’s potential 26 million voters.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) which runs and oversees the country’s elections said recently there are more political parties are interested in contesting this year’s election.
It said about 30 new parties had been registered over the past year.
The IEC noted 563 political parties have registered to participate in the national elections. However, not all political parties will be able to contest in both the national and provincial elections due to financial limitations. Each party has to pay a deposit of R200 000 for the national ballot and R45 000 for each provincial ballot.