The North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have been identified as high risk areas ahead of Election Day. The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster of ministers says resources including extra security will be deployed to ensure free and fair elections.
However, the Cluster has assured the nation that elections will be free, fair and safe for all. This as over 51 000 police officers will be deployed to the voting stations across the country on Election Day.
The run up to Election Day has seen numerous protests and so called shutdowns across the country.
Many of the demonstrations were related to service delivery. However, the protests are not of major concern to the security cluster.
The Cluster identified North West and KwaZulu-Natal as hot spot area. JCPS says the two provinces have had strong elements of violence and political intolerance.
Police Minister, Bheki Cele says, “Some areas eThekwini especially the hostels, were there have been interference even with the registration and campaigning, so that makes those high because people don’t just engage on their constitutional right activities but they begin to interfere with the rights of other people so police come in there and the cluster comes in here.
“North West I’m sure you are aware there was a place where the premier he could not go and three days, two days there busses burnt when other people were campaigning in a place called Brits. So that’s why, there is a lot of interference with the political and constitutional right of other people that’s why these two provinces are taken up,” Cele adds.
The Cluster says advance security teams have already been deployed to stabilise hotspot areas. Other security teams will be deployed to one Correctional Services to ensure inmates’ safety on voting day.
Meanwhile, a total of 22 924 voting stations will be opened for all citizens to vote on May 8th.
Despite numerous shutdown protests in South Africa. The Gauteng province has not been identified as high risk by the security cluster ministers, stating that the province has enough capacity to manage any possible election disruptions.
Home Affairs which is part of the cluster, says it will be fully operational on Election Day to assist voters with their identity documents.
The department will extend operational hours at front line offices from the 6th to the 8th May 2019.