Security tightened in run up to elections

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pretoria - Security force deployments will over the next two days intensify to ensure that the 2014 general election takes place peacefully and safely.  

“We are satisfied that the environment remains stable and conducive to free and fair elections taking place,” said police spokesperson Solomon Makgale.

He said the all partners in the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) are in close cooperation with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as South Africans prepare to vote on Wednesday in the fifth democratic elections.

Makgale said police officials will be deployed at all 22 363 voting stations across the country.

“We remind voters that voting stations are firearm-free zones and no firearm should be taken to a voting station,” he said.

The work of Natjoints is guided by daily risk assessments by the Intelligence Coordinating Committee at the National Joint Operational Centre. 

This risk assessment guides the tactical deployment of law enforcement officers and the security forces. 

Makgale said in certain areas, where community protests are taking place, it has been necessary to conduct operations aimed at stabilising the area prior to Election Day.

“In Marikana in Rustenburg, North West, combined cordon-and-search operations have been on-going over this past weekend, following recent looting in the vicinity,” Makgale said.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) National Intervention Unit and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been working jointly with local SAPS units. The Hawks and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation will also ensure dedicated investigative capacity and docket management for criminal matters related to the elections.

On Sunday, 63 dangerous weapons were seized in Freedom Park and 72 at Karee Hostel in Marikana, while 160kg of dagga was also seized. 

Four individuals were arrested after goods stolen during the looting were found on their premises.

There have also been reported tensions in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, which has also been identified as the one of the country's election hotspots.

In the early hours of Monday morning, a room at Ekuzoleni Senior Primary School, which is one of the IEC's polling stations, was set alight.

Despite this, voting at the school continued successfully as planned. South Africans who had applied for special votes went to the polls on Monday. Special votes will continue until 5pm today.

The IEC has expressed confidence in how the special voting process has progressed. – SAnews.gov.za

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