Police on high alert as South Africa goes to vote
Extra police personnel has been deployed to “hot spot” areas in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces on Monday as thousands of voters are expected to mark their X for their preferred candidate.
On Sunday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited the province to assess the police’s readiness to ensure a safe election. KZN boasts 4006 voting stations with 128 of those placed in the high-risk category. Cele also visited Mpumalanga on Saturday, which was also identified as a high-risk province.
“These provinces have received additional SAPS officers ahead of the elections and not only that, law enforcement agencies including the SANDF will be working for hand in glove with police as force multipliers. The provinces have put together solid plans informed by intelligence-driven analysis and this gives me confidence that those plans will result in citizens casting their votes freely, with little to no disruptions,” he said.
He added that in areas where IEC officials are not able to perform their duties due to safety fears and threats from communities, police officers who have been trained by the Electoral Commission remain on standby to take over from these officers at voting stations.
“This is already the case in the Ugu district in KZN where election-related violence broke out and resulted in the injury of a police officer from a gunshot to the leg in Mistake Farm. While police will be on hand to ensure voting goes ahead as planned, they will not be letting their guard down in policing other crimes,” Cele said.
Meanwhile, the IEC has reassured voters that all Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place. Voting stations have been opened from 7 am and will close at 9 pm however, voters who are still in queues by 9 pm will not be turned away.