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SA ready for elections

With just six days to go until the sixth General Election, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster has assured South Africans that there elections will be safe.

Briefing the public on the cluster’s state of readiness on Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said measures have been put in place to create an environment for free and fair elections starting from 6 to 8 May 2019.

“Through our intelligence-driven operations, hotspots in the country have been identified and will be prioritised. As part of the deployment strategy, a capacity of five teams will be maintained at national level to be deployed to any part of the country where the situation requires urgent intervention to deal with high risk situations,” said Cele.

The Police Minister was joined by State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

Minister Cele said the cluster will deploy around 3 504 reservists nationwide.

North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have been identified as the highest risk areas.

“All relevant security-aligned departments within the three spheres of government are continuously working tirelessly to ensure the successful delivery of the 6th General elections,” said Cele.

The elections security plan is managed by National, Provincial, District and Local JOINTS structures of the JCPS Cluster.

These JOINTS structures consist of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), South African Police Service (SAPS), Home Affairs, IEC, the Demarcation Board, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the State Security Agency (SSA) and other stakeholders.

“As the cluster, we want to reassure the public that all areas will be accessible for all citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Cele.

On the day of the elections, 22 924 voting stations will be opened for all citizens to vote.

“Members of SAPS will enhance visibility and prevent any form of criminal activity in and around voting stations and the results centres.

“Furthermore, police officials will monitor all forms of protestation or ‘shutdowns’ to ensure that no individual’s constitutional right to vote will be infringed,” said the Minister. 

Police officers will be deployed to escort presiding officers, who will visit homes of those people who will participate in special voting on 6 and 7 May 2019.

Law enforcement agencies will also provide security services to the presiding and voting officers when they collect and deliver ballot papers/boxes to voting stations.

In total, 51 306 police officers will be deployed in the voting stations on Election Day.

Voters must flock in numbers

Meanwhile the Independent Electoral Commission has called on South Africa’s 26.7 million registered voters flock to their nearest voting stations to cast their on 8 May.

The call was made by IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini on recently during the launch of the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Pretoria.

Addressing delegates at the venue, which has been set up with large screens with the names of all the political parties contesting the election, Mashinini said it was all systems go for 8 May.

Over the past two years the IEC has been preoccupied with ensuring that a credible election is delivered. “The credibility of our elections is also protected and secured through a variety of checks and balances through each stage of the process,” he said.

He urged those who have been organising and participating in civic demonstrations to respect the election process.

“The right to protest and demonstrate is a right protected by our Constitution and has its roots in our democracy and the conduct of peaceful elections,” he said.

The IEC has recruited 189000 volunteers to conduct the counting processes.

The IEC has also printed and distributed 60 million national and provincial double ballot papers. Over 300 000 ballot boxes, 45 000 voting compartments along with stationery packs and posters have been procured.

On Monday and Tuesday, 770 000 special voters will cast their ballots at the various voting stations and during home visits. - SAnews.gov.za