'All systems go for May 7'

Friday, May 2, 2014

Itsoseng - It is all systems go as far as safety and security is concerned for the 2014 general elections that will take place on May 7, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Friday.

“[The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster] came here to assess for ourselves the state of readiness of our security forces before the elections. From the point of view of the security forces, everything is in place to ensure that our elections are not only going to be free and fair, but also safe,” he said.

The minister was briefing journalists after meeting with members of the Itsoseng community outside Mahikeng in the North West, in what was part of nationwide engagements to ensure that the elections are peaceful and secured.

The JCPS cluster ministers visited KwaMashu and Wembezi in KwaZulu-Natal, Mannenberg in the Western Cape, Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, Freedom Park and Itsoseng in North West and Bekkersdal in Gauteng on Saturday. During the engagements they spoke to communities, conducted walk-abouts and obtained detailed briefings from security structures on the ground.

Minister Mthethwa on Friday said that after concluding the visit to Itsoseng, the JCPS cluster was satisfied that South Africa was ready for the elections.

Itsoseng has, like areas in other provinces, been experiencing service delivery problems for several weeks. Most recently, demonstrations have led to schooling being disrupted.

 “We have been interacting with members of the community, including [the tribal authority]. They acknowledge the service delivery protests that have happened in the past and have raised some of the things that they say government must take up, which we have acknowledged.

“Going forward, we are confident that when the 7th of May comes people will be coming to vote,” Minister Mthethwa said after meeting.

The residents handed a memorandum containing their service delivery concerns to the ministers. Others explained that the rumours that residents will abstain from voting in Wednesday’s poll were not true.

Mthethwa said police and the defence force would be deployed to hotspots around the country on Wednesday based on assessments on the ground.

Earlier during the meeting, residents denounced that their area was a hotspot, saying that demonstrators and the community had met to ensure calm going forward and to condemn intimidation.

The community had held a “healing and reconciliation ceremony” last Sunday. – SAnews.gov.za


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