National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, has urged all police officers deployed for the elections to stay alert as people go to the polls on Wednesday.
SAPS will be deploying 84 000 officers across the country in the crunch general elections. The army is also on standby. Sitole says police have a critical role to play on elections day.
“Before we create the safety of our communities, our safety must also come first, so that we make sure that we are in a good position, to be able to protect our communities. I always leave you with this particular message that if there is any confrontation that get created by criminals in which our lives could be in danger, do not die with your guns. And at the end of this operation, we hope to see all of you because we know you shall have protected each other.”
General Sitole visited Mahikeng in the North West province to do a final check of his troop’s readiness ahead Wednesday’s general elections.
Sitole started with a parade at the Joint Tactical Headquarters in Mahikeng before proceeding to one of the hotspots in the area.
83 areas in the North West have been identified as hotspots in the province. Villages around Mahikeng, Kraaipan and Ganyesa have been hard hit by protests, with residents burning down vehicles and government buildings and blockading roads.
However, 51 000 police officers will be deployed around the country to ensure safety and security during elections. Commissioner Sitole also visited one voting station in the troubled Dithakong village.
Sitole says that the police must be in the area permanently to ensure safety at voting stations.
“The actual instruction which I think we have corrected now is that they must be here permanently, together with the IEC because the voting station may be attacked or get robbed, especially when we have the ballot boxes closed.”
North West provincial elections head, Tumelontle Thiba says they are ready for the voters.
“The police officers are there to escort our security materials, particularly our ballot papers. But they should not be seen as looking out for danger because we do not except any danger whatsoever.” -Reporting by Tshepiso Victor Motlogelwa
National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole on police readiness ahead of general elections on Wednesday: