No election violence reported in KZN

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretoria - The provincial safety and security department says there were no reports of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal on Election Day.

Speaking to BuaNews on Thursday, spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha, said voters and political parties conducted themselves well and there was no election related violence and intimidation reported.

Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) jointly with the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were deployed to identified hotspots in the province, even before the elections, after the eruption of tension between the main political parties there - the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Government's security cluster assured residents and political parties last week that everything would be done to ensure that the elections in hotspots such as Nongoma would be be free and fair.

"We can confidently proclaim that the forthcoming democratic elections in KwaZulu-Natal will be conducted under a peaceful and fair environment.

"Our ground forces are ready to protect all citizens that will be voting on Election Day. They will also provide additional security support to the electoral officers of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)," Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Friday.

The minister assured that the province would remain within the watchful eye of the JCPS cluster until all election activities were over.

According to the JCPS, KwaZulu-Natal remained a major cause of concern especially in hotspots such as Nongoma, Ntabamhlophe, Ulundi, KwaDukuza, Greytown and Msinga.

And in the months preceding the elections, a large number of anti-riot police and soldiers were deployed in the province to unmask the perpetrators of political violence.

National intervention units had successfully arrested 60 suspects in election related incidents.

Speaking to BuaNews, KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Phindile Radebe said more than 23 000 police officers were deployed to monitor the elections in the province, on Wednesday. In Nongoma alone, 270 police officers were deployed while another 200 were deployed in Ulundi before the elections.

"Only one incident was reported, where a presiding officer was found in possession of used ballot papers and she was arrested," said Ms Radebe.

The presiding officer in Ulundi who allegedly stuffed a ballot box with ballot papers has been charged for violating the Electoral Act.

She was expected to appear in court today.