2014 Elections: a milestone in democracy

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pretoria – Government has called on all South Africans, especially the youth who will be voting for the first time, to go out in their numbers to cast their votes on 7 May in honour of the founding father of the democratic nation, former President Nelson Mandela.

“As government, we believe this is a day which all South Africans should look forward to with positive anticipation and excitement, in a period in which we are celebrating 20 years of freedom.

“The best way to honour Madiba’s legacy will be for all of us to go out in numbers and exercise our hard-won democratic right to vote, which South Africans sacrificed so much for,” said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Leading a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster briefing this morning, Minister Mthethwa said government departments such as State Security, Police, Defence and Home Affairs, were ready for the fifth elections since the dawn of democracy.

This year’s general election is also significant in that it will be the first, since 1994, without Madiba, who passed away on 5 December 2013.

Minister Mthethwa said to ensure free and fair elections throughout the country, stringent measures have been taken by the departments in the cluster, especially in areas identified as hotspots.

He said police deployments in the build-up to the elections will be made according to risk assessments to ensure everyone gets a chance to exercise their democratic right at the polls.

“We have put all measures in place to ensure that we have a safe and secure election. We will not allow anyone to derail the elections or prevent anyone from exercising his or her constitutionally enshrined right to vote,” Minister Mthethwa said. 

He called on the public to report any cases of intimidation.

“As a nation, we have worked hard to build a peaceful and stable South Africa from the ruins of apartheid violence, divisions and hatred,” he said.

Steps have been put in place to deal with those who will be arrested for inciting violence during elections. Special courts will be operational to speedily resolve such cases.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said South African National Defence Force members will be on standby to provide assistance and support to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“Adequate preparations have been put in place to support the police and provide logistical support to the IEC,” she said.

Home Affairs to be open on 7 May

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, who is also a part of the JCPS cluster, said all Home Affairs offices throughout the country will be open from 7am on Election Day, to enable people to collect their identity documents.

According to Minister Pandor, there are 122 000 uncollected IDs and 23 000 uncollected smartcard IDs.

Home Affairs has 117 mobile offices to provide extra capacity to process applications. All border posts will be open and functioning on Election Day to allow South Africans to come home to vote.

Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said all 155 000 inmates in 242 correctional facilities across the country are registered to vote. 

The IEC, working with the Department of Correctional Services, has made the necessary arrangements to ensure that inmates exercise their democratic right to vote.

Special votes will take place on 5 and 6 May. The deadline for applications for special votes is 17 April 2014.

The IEC says 25 390 150 voters are eligible to cast their votes come 7 May. – SAnews.gov.za

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