49 voting stations in Western Cape flagged as high risk: Police

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The police in the Western Cape say they are ready for the task at hand to ensure the national elections are safe. Scores of officers on foot, horseback and in the air, among others, will be deployed to the more than 1 500 voting stations across the province. Of these, 49 stations have been flagged as high risk.

The SAPS says it’s ready to ensure that everyone who can and wants to vote, will do so safely. Voting stations are divided into three categories high, medium and low risk.

The majority, however, are by far deemed to be low risk. Areas that might be of concern will see more SAPS member deployment.

SAPS Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile says in the vicinity of all voting districts, reaction teams that can immediately respond will be ready.

“We will have the normal policing continuing in the areas making sure there’s visibility. In partnership with all our role players, the CPFs, the neighbourhood watches, the community and all other stakeholders, law enforcement, metro police, traffic department. So, we are in full force out there to ensure that there’s peace and safe environment and harmony during the election period.”

SAPS Western Cape ready for safe elections: Lt. General Thembisile Patekile

The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape says an incident in which property was stolen two weeks ago was resolved within 12 hours.

An arrest was made, and the property of the IEC was returned.

While no voting materials were delivered at the time, it has since stepped up security at all voting stations.

“Also, with the assistance of SAPS, all our material is being guarded. Where we escort, they are there to assist us with escorting and ensuring that all our materials ultimately arrived safely at the voting station but also more importantly that they will be returned from those voting stations once voting is completed,” says Michael Hendrickse, Western Cape IEC Electoral Officer.

The IEC has expressed confidence that the SAPS will do all it can to ensure the elections will be safe for all participants.

The SAPS says various factors determine whether or not a voting station is high risk. It includes among others, political intolerance, serious crime, and service delivery issues.

“Have you been made aware that there might be issues across the province…relatively no. We have no threats that we have identified as acquiring special attention for now. As we continue, until the last person votes and it’s closed, we still continue doing a threat risk assessment all the time,” Patekile adds.

Stakeholders include provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies.

“We are very clear from our side that we would want each and every person that is eligible to vote to ultimately make it to a voting station. So, where the South African Police Service should have visibility and presence it will be an integration between metro police, leap officers, some routes traffic as well,” says Reagen Allen, Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC.