Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, has called for enhanced community-police relations over the election period and beyond.
This comes as the Gauteng Provincial Joints on Monday confirmed the state of readiness of the security detail in Gauteng to deliver safe and secure elections.
Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, last week highlighted the readiness of the security forces to police the general elections, which officially kicked off with the casting of special votes yesterday and today.
In a statement, the Gauteng SAPS said the province had activated the initial deployment that successfully delivered rallies of four political parties over the weekend in Johannesburg, Soweto, and the West Rand districts, with limited incidents reported.
“Deployments throughout the election period will be intelligence-driven and responsive to threat assessment per voting station. With over 2760 voting stations in Gauteng, measures have been put in place by the Provjoints in anticipation of possible security breaches that were prevalent in previous elections such as: intimidation of voters and electoral officers; obstruction of voting and the voting process; public violence and malicious damage to property; theft and common robberies at or near voting stations,” Gauteng police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said in a statement.
She added that the safety of children during this election period cannot be over emphasised.
“Parents must at all times be aware of the whereabouts of their children. Parents are also reminded that there is no waiting period to report a missing person. Delays in reporting a missing person could further compromise their prospects of being found,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has published a Handbook on Electoral Offences, with a clear illustration of possible penalties such as a fine or imprisonment for a period of 5 to 10 years depending on the offence.
Members of the public are urged to familiarise themselves with the content of this handbook, or alternatively, simply refrain from acts of criminality and disruptive behaviour; and respect the authority of the presiding officer as the person in charge of the voting station.
“Safety and security forms an integral part of the IEC’s mandate to deliver free and fair elections. Police thus need the cooperation of peace loving and law abiding citizens to work with us during these elections, and together fight any criminal element that seeks to frustrate the delivery of crime-free elections,” said Mawela.