More than 50 000 policemen and women will be deployed at more than twenty-two thousand voting stations across the country next Wednesday to ensure local government elections are peaceful.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko this week said there would be “zero no-go areas” in South Africa on election day.
“Our point of emphasis is we have to secure the environment to such an extent that communities are able to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” he is reported as saying by SAnews.
In June the SA Police Service had identified a thousand voting districts which could be classified as high risk areas. This number has now been reduced to 650 out of a national total of 22 612 voting stations.
The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) had not responded to questions about its involvement – or not – in Wednesday’s local government elections, said by some pundits to be the most important yet in democratic South Africa’s history.
Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane said the success of the police is dependent on collaboration between communities and visible policing.
Regarding the violence in the Vuwani area of Limpopo, he assured residents they will have a platform to vote which will be secured by the police.
“The Vuwani we experienced is not going to be repeated. What happened there is unfortunate. We have revised our plans and done the necessary deployment.”
He said one of the measures for the Limpopo area included a number of the new cadets who graduated this week will be deployed in Vuwani.
Regarding violent protests in Tshwane, which saw shops being looted and roads being barricaded, Nhleko said police secured and stabilised the city in 24 hours.
“It’s not going to happen again. We are paying specific attention to ensure people go to the elections freely.”
National Deputy Head of the Hawks Major General Yolisa Matakata said the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DCPI) was working on getting intelligence to ensure safe elections.
“We are working with all role-players in the police and intelligence community to ensure we link information and plan accordingly,” she said.
On the 25 politically related crimes identified during the pre-election period, with 14 cases opened for murder and attempted murder, Nhleko said nine suspects have been arrested.
“We continue to follow leads on a number of these cases. We are also working with prosecution authorities to fast track some of them.”
He added police will continue to do what is necessary to ensure the cases are resolved.