Pretoria - The security cluster ministers said they were not worried about problems within the Independent Electoral Commission affecting the fairness of South Africa’s fifth democratic elections.
The commission has been clouded by controversy over calls for chairwoman Pansy Tlakula to step down. Eight parties have threatened to approach the courts if Tlakula had not resigned by the close of business on Monday.
The parties, including the United Democratic Movement, AgangSA and the Economic Freedom Fighters, say they are uncomfortable with Tlakula being the head of the elections following findings against her by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and an audit report commissioned by the Treasury.
Tlakula is challenging the findings of the public protector in court and the forensic audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers has been referred to the commission’s legal advisers.
Security Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele said: “We are working with the IEC and are satisfied that they are ready to deliver credible elections on the 7th of May. We had a meeting with IEC commissioners and management and were assured that despite the problems, they will deliver credible elections.”
The ministers said they were monitoring violence hot spots across the country like Bekkersdal, KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal and Malamulele in Limpopo to ensure that people are able to vote.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure would continue monitoring the country to ensure enough law enforcement officials are deployed to each area.
“The scale of deployments at each voting station will be determined by the risk assessments conducted by the security structures.
“In this period, dedicated investigative capacity and docket management for criminal matters related to elections will be speedily managed by dedicated detective teams and the Hawks.
“In order to ensure speedy justice, the police, especially the detective services, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the National Prosecuting Authority and Legal Aid SA, will ensure that all election-related cases are prioritised and speedily finalised.
“Once cases are trial-ready, they will be prioritised in the relevant courts. Where required, additional capacity provided to the normal courts through the additional district and regional backlog courts will be used to help fast-track these matters,” he said.
*155 000 inmates in 242 correctional facilities across the country are registered to vote.
*26 000 South Africans living abroad are registered to vote.