With just six days to go until the sixth General Election, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster has assured South Africans that it stands ready to deliver a safe and secure election.
Briefing the public on the cluster’s state of readiness on Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said measures have been put in place to create an environment for free and fair elections starting from 6 to 8 May 2019.
“Through our intelligence-driven operations, hotspots in the country have been identified and will be prioritised. As part of the deployment strategy, a capacity of five teams will be maintained at national level to be deployed to any part of the country where the situation requires urgent intervention to deal with high risk situations,” said Cele.
The Police Minister was joined by State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
As a force multiplier, Cele said the cluster will deploy around 3 504 reservists nationwide.
North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have been identified as the highest risk areas.
“All relevant security-aligned departments within the three spheres of government are continuously working tirelessly to ensure the successful delivery of the 6th General elections,” said Cele.
The elections security plan is managed by National, Provincial, District and Local JOINTS structures of the JCPS Cluster.
These JOINTS structures consist of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), South African Police Service (SAPS), Home Affairs, IEC, the Demarcation Board, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the State Security Agency (SSA) and other stakeholders.
“As the cluster, we want to reassure the public that all areas will be accessible for all citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Cele.
On the day of the elections, 22 924 voting stations will be opened for all citizens to vote. There will also be nine results centres in each province and TSWABAC (Pretoria Show Grounds) designated for the national results.
“Members of SAPS will enhance visibility and prevent any form of criminal activity in and around voting stations and the results centres.
“Furthermore, police officials will monitor all forms of protestation or ‘shutdowns’ to ensure that no individual’s constitutional right to vote will be infringed,” said the Minister.
Police officers will be deployed to escort presiding officers, who will visit homes of those people who will participate in special voting on 6 and 7 May 2019.
Law enforcement agencies will also provide security services to the presiding and voting officers when they collect and deliver ballot papers/boxes to voting stations. In total, 51 306 police officers will be deployed in the voting stations on Election Day.
Voting at correctional centres
According to the Electoral Amendment Act of 2013, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), which houses a population of over 170 000 inmates, is mandated to ensure that every inmate, irrespective of the type of sentence imposed, or the type of offence committed, is entitled to register as a voter and vote in the election of the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures.
“Therefore, the department will be deploying voting officials in the 243 correctional facilities around the country to allow all the registered inmates with relevant identification documents to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Cele.
A protocol has been established between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, SAPS Detectives and the NPA to prioritise all election related cases. No specialised courts have been established.
Home Affairs assists KZN and EC flood victims
In a drive to assist eligible voters to collect identity documents or apply for temporary identity documents, the Department of Home Affairs will extend operational hours at front offices from the 6th to the 8th May 2019.
Home Affairs frontline offices will also provide public services on Election Day, from 07h00 until 21h00.
“To assist the people who lost their belongings and identification documents in the flood-ravaged areas in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, the Department of Home Affairs will issue more than 300 identity documents in Eastern Cape and 121 in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal,” said Cele.
The Umngeni Office will open on Saturday to assist the victims.
Those affected by the floods will also be issued with temporary identification documents which will allow them to vote.