Cape Town - The 2024 national elections are set to see 23 296 voting stations, and in the Western Cape, the Provincial Electoral Commission has indicated they are prepared that operations will run smoothly and incident free.
In the province there were more than 95 murders and 101 attempted murders since the start of the year and there jitters that this might spike in the lead-up to the elections.
The murders and attempted murders have been sporadic, in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Delft, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Worcester.
Western Cape MEC for Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen said law enforcement and police members would be stationed at voting stations to keep order and control, and that intelligence would be used to smoke out potential threats.
“These statistics are horrendous. One murder will always be one murder too many, as people should not die in this manner,” he said.
“Where arrests have not occurred, I urge community members to make information available to any and all law enforcement agencies so the perpetrators can end up behind bars.
“The majority of the SAPS stations mentioned are where we as the Western Cape government have deployed our LEAP officers, so that they can assist SAPS to combat crime, particularly murder.
“It is prudent that SAPS utilise their intelligence optimally to prevent and fully investigate these types of incidents so that it does not repeat itself. Prior to our assistance, Nyanga was known as the murder capital of our country, but this is no longer the case.
“The national government has no desire or appetite to resource the dedicated men and women in blue, and this has been proven over an extended period of time.
“Devolving SAPS to a capable provincial government such as ourselves is the only method that will ensure we have a professional and fully resourced service in the province. Residents should note how they’re being failed by an inept national government and who have no care for their safety and well-being.”
Provincial Electoral Officer Michael Hendrickse told the “Weekend Argus” that they were prepared for any incident, as protocols would be put into place.
“The prevalence of crime in our country, and especially in our vulnerable communities, is of great concern to the IEC as we do not work in a vacuum,” he stated.
“Sadly, the high levels of crime is linked to socio-economic conditions created in our past by discrimination and dispossession, and also shines a light on our current failings to provide a safe South Africa for all.
‘It is always the IEC’s intention to make sure that elections run smoothly and that citizens can exercise their right to vote in a safe environment. We do, therefore, work very closely with the SAPS and local law enforcement to provide secure voting stations and act accordingly on their advice.
“The IEC calls on all South Africans to take part in our elections peacefully to ensure we have a successful and free and fair election process to uphold the democratic principles of the country.”
Matthew George of ActionSA said all resources must be put into place to ensure a smooth election.
“Indeed, the alarming escalation of violence across the Western Cape is deeply concerning for ActionSA, particularly as we approach an election, with many of our activists exposed to increased danger across areas like the Cape Flats,” he said.
“I believe our concern is heightened as we’ve recently learnt that one of our activists in Khayelitsha has lost a loved one due to a shooting.
“This unfortunate development could potentially limit our ability to exercise our democratic rights, as operating in communities that are not safe for our activists becomes increasingly challenging.
“Therefore, it is crucial for SAPS and the provincial government to take every reasonable step to arrest this escalating violence and prevent further loss of innocent life in our communities.”