National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Bheki Cele, has thanked the thousands of men and women in blue who have been deployed on election-related duties last week for the excellent security services they have rendered.
On election day, Wednesday, some 75 000 police officials were deployed for election-specific duties, 50 000 at polling stations throughout the country and 25 000 to perform election-related crime prevention tasks. Besides these deployments, normal policing duties continued 24/7 throughout the country, the police say in a statement. A reaction capability comprising the police and the SA National Defence Force was on standby to rapidly react to any contingency. “However, it must again be emphasised that there is no major threat against the holding of a free and fair election,”the police said in a statement before the vote.
The duties performed by police officials included static protection at polling stations, safeguarding result centres and the counting process, securing the transportation of ballot papers and certain VIP protection duties. “Police officials will remain on duty until the counting process has been completed and will still be available thereafter to ensure stability in areas where the results could possibly cause friction,” the after-the-event statement adds.
“Without the dedicated efforts of our police officials, who carried out operations in hot spot areas for months prior to the elections in order to create a peaceful environment, we could not have ensured a safe and secure voting process”, said Cele. “While other members of the community could vote and then enjoy a relaxed public holiday, our members worked throughout the day and night to safeguard their Constitutional right to vote. I thank each and every member from the bottom of my heart for letting us maintain our 100% track record for securing major events”, he added.
Cele also thanked the Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), made up of various government departments and led by the SAPS, which coordinated security activities over the past week. “South Africans did us proud on 18th May and we applaud their patience and tolerance which led to such a successful voting process”, Cele said.
Other departments and agencies represented on the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) included the SANDF, the Independent Electoral Commission, the Government Communication and Information System, the departments of Home Affairs, Health, Justice and Constitutional Development, International Relations and Cooperation, Cooperative Governance, State Security and the South African Revenue Services.