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Police make arrests for election crimes

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Two police officers will face disciplinary action for allegedly bringing the SAPS into disrepute.

Police have arrested about 10 people in connection with alleged intimidation, assault and violation of the Electoral Act in the Eastern Cape and Polokwane.

POLICE have arrested about 10 people in connection with alleged intimidation, assault and violation of the Electoral Act in the Eastern Cape and Polokwane.

This comes as two police officers are also in hot water for allegedly bringing the SAPS into disrepute.

Police spokesperson Welile Matyolo said six suspects aged between 24 and 51 were arrested on charges of violating the Electoral Act in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Matyolo said a voting station was allegedly destroyed while the group raised issues of service delivery in the area on Sunday.

He said the same group had also threatened IEC officials to close the station on Monday and then burned tyres, preventing any movement in the area on Tuesday.

“OR Tambo District detective election team assisted by Public Order Policing members conducted an operation on Tuesday and arrested six suspects charged for contravention of Electoral Act.

“They have been detained at Mqanduli police station and will appear at the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court on Friday,” Matyolo said.

In Limpopo, a 34-year-old man linked to cases of crimen injuria and assault common during a political campaign in Witpoort, near Lephalale, was arrested on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Hlulani Mashaba said the suspect allegedly disrupted members of a political party during a door-to-door campaign and had been on the run since the incident.

“According to the reports, the suspect approached the members of the party and started to insult them, using offensive words.

“He thereafter threw stones at them, subsequently hitting one individual on the back,” Mashaba said.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe said the arrest will send a clear message to anyone intending to disrupt the voting process in any part of the province that the police will not hesitate to act.

The suspect is expected to appear before the Phalala Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Mashaba also said police arrested three suspects aged between 48 and 55 on charges of intimidation and assault in connection with an incident related to the elections at a voting station in Polokwane on Tuesday.

He said a woman went to cast her ballot when she was approached by two women and a man asking her what party she was going to vote for.

“The complainant informed them she cannot disclose since her vote is a secret. The suspects then threatened her that she should vote for a certain political party because if she doesn’t she will be placing her life in danger.”

Mashaba said the complainant reported the incident to the IEC and the police were notified, leading to the arrest of the suspects. “These arrests are part of broader efforts to curb electoral violence and ensure public safety during the election period,” Hadebe said.

The three suspects were expected to appear before Ritavi Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Meanwhile, two KwaZulu-Natal police officers are in hot water for allegedly breaching the SAPS code of ethics.

This comes after provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi directed that immediate disciplinary steps be taken against the two officers for infringing the SAPS code of conduct and bringing the image of the police into disrepute.

Colonel Robert Netshiunda said a police officer wearing uniform was seen in a video driving a state vehicle and picking up an off-duty police officer at a voting station.

“The off-duty police officer in the video can be seen wearing the regalia of a political party,” Netshiunda said.

Mkhwanazi said police officers should be professional at all times and respect the oath which they took when they voluntarily joined the SAPS.

“On more than one occasion I reiterated to the members of the SAPS here in KwaZulu-Natal that they should be apolitical and leave politics to politicians.

“I emphasised the fact that police officers must never campaign or be seen to be campaigning for any political party.

“What these police officers did is totally unacceptable and such behaviour undermines the hard work that the police have been doing to create a safe and secure environment for the 2024 national and provincial elections.

“The two members will be subjected to internal disciplinary steps proportional to their unbecoming behaviour,” Mkhwanazi said.

Netshiunda said political parties and community members were encouraged to report any wrongdoing by the police officers.

“No one is above the law and police officers who are found to be on the wrong side of the law will dance to the tunes of their unbecoming actions,” he said.

Cape Times

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