General Cele promises safe elections

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cape Town - National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has assured the nation that the upcoming municipal elections in less than two weeks would be free and fair.

Cele made the announcement in Table View outside Cape Town earlier today during an address to the high ranking officers, law enforcement agencies, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the media among others.

He said police would not be biased towards any political party and would not try to influence the outcome of results.

He told them "to do what you have been trained to do and fear nobody. Don't do what you have been told not to do."

In their preparations, he said that they had worked along with the IEC, highlighting that "up to this point we have been working well (with the Commission)."

He said that some political parties accused them of bias during the elections and called on his officers to "stay away from influencing the outcome."

Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer said they would be deploying 10 000 officers in the province's 1 5 00 polling stations.

"The elections will be free and fair... the election will go smoothly without any hiccups," he said.

Lamoer said the army would also be on standby and be called to assist if needed.

Cele reintegrated that police would be tough on dangerous criminals such as those involved in cash heists or bank robberies.

He said that he was disheartened to see young officers dying in the line of duty at the hands of criminals.

Bemoaning the lack of sympathy the media and the general public had towards his officers, Cele said that in the last four months at least 25 officers had been killed, some of them on duty.

In the last two and half weeks, he said they had lost seven officers, four of them being female, two killed by "hard core criminals" and two by their partners.