Public urged to report crimes related to elections

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Government has urged members of the public to report any crime related to elections to their nearest police station or Electoral Commission (IEC) offices.

“A protocol has been established between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, South African Police Service (SAPS) Detectives and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prioritise all election-related crimes,” Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise said on Sunday in Pretoria.

Addressing a media briefing by the Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security (JCPS) Cluster, the Minister said prosecutors stand ready to prosecute offences such as electoral fraud and corruption, removing or defacing political party and campaign posters, interfering with the duties of the electoral officials as well as forcing anyone to vote.

“Individuals who use social media and electronic platforms to send threatening messages, incite violence, or cause harm to others will be charged. When an individual creates a video or share a post to the public and where the post contains words, speech or conduct that may encourage others to commit public violence, the aforementioned post will make one guilty of the offence of inciting public violence and police will not hesitate to track the person down and hold you accountable,” Modise said.

The Minister appealed to political and community leaders to exercise caution when speaking on public platforms.

“Do not make inflammatory or threatening statements as you will be breaking the law and may also encourage others to carry out criminal activities.

“We urge the public to exercise caution before sharing the information with others. Ensure that you double-check the accuracy of the information and be aware of the unintended consequences of your actions. Members of the public should report any inflammatory statements to law enforcement agencies,” the Minister said at the briefing held in Pretoria.

She warned the public against sharing false, unverified information, rumours, or threats online or in person as that can have serious consequences.

It can incite violence, confuse voters, and undermine the democratic process.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has activated provincial disaster management teams to identify risks and put mitigation measures in place for any disasters that may occur pre, during and post the elections.

“The NDMC is working closely with the South African Weather Service to monitor the situation, early warning messages will be issued when necessary. On the day of the elections, these teams will be deployed for 24 hours to monitor the situation,” the Minister said.

Collection of Identity Documents

To assist voters with the process of application for new Identity Documents and Temporary Identity Certificates and the collection of these documents, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has opened its offices from 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays from 06 April to 25 May 2024.

“In addition, Home Affairs will open its offices on voting day. Mobile offices are also scheduled to be opened in remote areas to assist with the application and collection processes. The department will engage with councillors and other community leaders to decide on the dates, times and venues of the operation of mobile offices.

“Citizens can also use the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS), which is available on the DHA website to book appointments to collect their Smart ID Cards and Green barcoded ID books. We encourage clients who have applied for identification documents and have received their SMS notifications, to seize this opportunity by visiting their Home Affairs office to collect these critical documents.”

Modise encourage all eligible voters to go out in their numbers to the different voting stations on 29 May 2024 to cast their votes.

The 2024 General Elections are believed to be the most contested in the history of this country.

“Overall, 70 political parties are contesting these elections, 11 independent candidates, and the national contestants are 52. In total, there are over 14, 903 candidates vying for 887 seats in the National and Provincial Legislatures. Ensuring the safety and security of all voters and officials are of paramount importance,” the Minister said. –