Govt increases policing ahead of May 7 polls

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Freedom Park – Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says government will deploy a contingent of police officers to Freedom Park in the North West ahead of the 2014 general elections next week.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster’s visit to the Freedom Park, a mining community in the North West, Minister Mthethwa said government would do everything in its power to ensure that the area was safe and conducive for residents to exercise their democratic right to vote.

South Africa will go to the polls on Wednesday in the country’s fifth democratic elections since the country’s majority first cast their votes in April of 1994. More than 25 million people have registered to vote, the largest since 1994.

Minister Mthethwa and other ministers in the security cluster visited the area following violence over the past few weeks due to the on-going mineworkers strike.

They have visited several areas in the country, including the Western Cape and Eastern Cape in the run up to the elections to engage communities, to ensure their safety concerns are addressed and that people are not intimidated from voting.  

“One thing which is coming out clearly here, as we interact with people, is that they are saying they do need protection from the state because there are people who are going around torching houses and doing all sorts of things. We have made that commitment.

“We have had other people talking about the effects of the strike as it were, causing pressure and tension,” Minister Mthethwa said.

Since the weekend, a municipal office building and two houses belonging to an ANC ward councillor and the speaker of the local municipality was set alight. The incidents have left residents feeling unsafe.

Minister Mthethwa said some residents had during his visit told him they were too scared to sleep at night and this was enough to ensure that police visibility in the area was increased.   

“It is our task to ensure that the environment is conducive for them to exercise their democratic right,” he said.

After the visit to the area, the JCPS cluster is expected to continue its North West community engagements with further visits to the Itsoseng and Bodibe. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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