A man casts his vote in this file picture. Picture: Chris Collingridge /African News Agency / ANA
A man casts his vote in this file picture. Picture: Chris Collingridge /African News Agency / ANA

Local government elections: Security measures in place to protect voters at the polls

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Oct 25, 2021

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Cape Town - THE ministers in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster on Monday said measures had been put in place to protect all citizens as they get ready to exercise their constitutional right to vote on November 1.

Briefing the media on the state of readiness for the upcoming local government elections, Defence Minister Thandi Modise said the cluster puts it full weight behind the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

“The JCPS cluster will ensure that the local government elections are conducted in a safe and secure environment. We are declaring that we are operationally ready to execute our mandate and ensure a safe and secure environment for all to participate in the free and fair elections in our country,” Modise said.

She also said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Strictures (NatJoints) had put measures in place to protect all our citizens to vote on November 1.

“We can confidently declare today that all safety and security measures have been put in place to ensure we have free and fair elections,” she said.

The special votes will be on Saturday and Sunday between 8am and 5pm, and normal elections on Monday.

Modise also said all relevant security-aligned departments in all three spheres worked tirelessly and in a continuous and coordinated manner to ensure that successful elections were delivered.

“As a cluster, we want to assure the public that all areas will be accessible to all citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

Modise said there would be sufficient police visibility in and around voting stations to prevent crime and intimidation of voters.

“Furthermore, members of SAPS will be deployed at all provincial results centres to ensure the integrity of the finalisation of the results. The deployment of SAPS and other law enforcement agencies will be determined and be guided by structured threat analysis and crime patterns.”

Modise added that reserve forces from the police would be on standby to provide additional assistance should the need arise around identified hotspots.

“We have an Intelligence Coordinating Committee (ICC) that has conducted a security threat assessment, and they have assured us that the country is relatively stable and that this is conducive to free and fair elections.”

The minister said all forms of criminality would not be tolerated before, during and after the election period.

“We would like to remind South Africans that the incitement of violence is also a criminal offence. Interfering with the work of IEC or threatening IEC officers is also transgression that is punishable by law,” she said.

Modise insisted that law enforcement agencies would be on hand at every voting station and that the democratic process would not be disturbed in any way whatsoever.

“Under the ambit of NatJoints, the SANDF will be on standby to provide support to the IEC and to the SAPS. The SANDF will protect all the national key points.”

Modise also said there would be Electoral Courts available in each of the voting districts.

She also said the Department of Home Affairs had extended its operating hours by two hours from October 18 in 197 out of its 412 offices to help those who need their services for Smart ID and passports.

“The department will continue to expand its operating hours. On Saturday, Sunday and until Monday, all 412 Department of Home Affairs offices will be opened between 7am and 9pm.

“During the voting period, Home Affairs will assist people who lost or misplaced their IDs to apply for temporary ID certificates.”

Modise said there were about 370 000 uncollected IDs at Home Affairs Department offices as of October 22.

She urged those that applied for IDs to come and collect their documents.

Modise also urged political party leaders not to make inflammatory statements with the potential to incite violence within communities.

“We would like to urge political leaders to adhere to the electoral code of conduct that was signed on October 1 by all political parties contesting local government elections of 2021.”

Political Bureau

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