Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Conflict mediators on stand by in Western Cape ahead of local government elections

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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Cape Town - With less than two weeks before the elections, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has put together teams of mediators to intervene in conflict situations.

Western Cape provincial electoral officer Michael Hendrickse said they have an experienced panel of conflict management mediators.

Hendrickse said there was a provincial coordinator who was leading a team of panellists that are spread around the province.

“We can deploy them to particular situations where we need to intervene. It can be issues of service delivery that impact on the delivery of elections,” he said.

Hendrickse also said they would deploy the mediators to situations any time so that the elections can carry on.

“We cant resolve peoples’ service delivery issues, but we can seek to ensure elections take place.”

Hendrickse also said there was also the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission made up of religious leaders.

“They also have a network of members that assist in mediating and getting involved in resolving issues through their good office.

“They bring a level of moral authority, and it is led by the Archbishop of Cape Town,” he added.

Asked if there were any hotspot areas in the province, Hendrickse said they were in general contact with SAPS through the provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, where they held weekly meetings and were advised about hotspots areas, including taxi and gang-related matters and service delivery protests.

“There is no specific hotspots I can indicate to you. We are constantly in touch with SAPS and monitoring the situation,” he said.

Hendrickse added that the conflict management mediators panel was on the ground to update them with what was occurring.

“That is how we approach these particular matters,” he said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday said they have deliberated on the state of readiness for the local government elections with the IEC.

“We have profiled all the voting stations based on their risk, and we have identified 300 which are prone to give us problems.

“KZN features prominently along with other provinces such as Western Cape and Gauteng. I am giving you an assurance that not a single station will be without police personnel,” he said during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal.

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Political Bureau

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