Tshwane safety dept assures safe elections

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pretoria - The Tshwane Community Safety Department says it will ensure the election process in the greater municipality is safe on Wednesday.

"We have developed a comprehensive plan to offer services to both the Independent Electoral Commission and the community as a whole," said department spokesperson Console Tleane.

The plan, which is already operational, includes the Metro Police Services, Fire Brigade Services and Disaster Management.

"Metro Police officers will be deployed in all the voting stations throughout the city. There will be a Metro Police officer in every polling station on the day of the election, and throughout the entirety of the election period," the department said.

They will be complemented in certain areas by the Peace and Development Programme (PDP) officers who are affiliated with the Metro Police.

PDPs are young people who have been given basic training in traffic control, marshalling, and identification of crime in communities where they come from.

According to the plan, the numbers of Metro Police officers per station will vary in accordance with the security analysis that has been conducted to assess which areas may pose possible threats. The service will be in support of and collaboration with the SAPS.

The Fire Brigade services will also be stationed at strategic places throughout the city so that members are able to react to any incident that may need their specialised intervention. Officers will also be stationed in all the regions.

In order to ensure that any disaster is addressed the Disaster Management Centre has been activated as from today. "This will allow the Centre to respond to any form of disaster and to coordinate relief should such be needed," the department said.

The Centre will remain activated till Thursday when all the ballot boxes have been delivered to all counting and verification stations, while the department's management will coordinate and oversee all the logistics.

Members of the department who will be on duty on Election Day will be casting their special votes today and tomorrow, so that they focus on their duties on Wednesday.

"We wish to assure all residents that they will be able to vote freely and without any threat being posed. Normal community safety activities will still be maintained.

"Therefore, the department will still be enforcing road policing, by-law enforcement, crime prevention, fire fighting services, and respond to disasters that may not be related to elections, " the department said.