Home South African Police to escort ballot papers to counting stations

Police to escort ballot papers to counting stations

261

Police Minister Bheki Cele assured the public yesterday that no ballot papers will be delivered to voting stations across the country for counting without an escort provided by the SAPS, metro police and other law enforcement agencies.

Police Minister Bheki Cele stressed that no ballot papers would be transported without an escort.

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele assured the public on Wednesday that no ballot papers would be delivered to voting stations across the country for counting without an escort provided by the SAPS, metro police and other law enforcement agencies.

Cele was speaking after casting his vote in Lamontville, south of Durban, on Wednesday. The minister stressed that ballot papers would not be transported without an escort.

“But the communication must be improved by the IEC to make the call on the members of the SAPS or any law enforcement,” Cele said, adding that there will be SANDF members in some areas.

“There is no war in the country, police are adequate unless an extra thing is needed and makes a case for the SANDF to be invited, but in other areas it will be metro police.”

Cele said there were no major problems except in the Eastern Cape.

“A station has been closed and the IEC has withdrawn its staff, but we have sent more police to that station. The issue there is that the community has taken the decision not to vote.

“Naturally and obviously temperatures will be up, we expect that to happen, but people (need to) keep within the law.”

Speaking after flying in a police helicopter to monitor deployments at some voting stations classified as high risk in eThekwini, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said there had not been many negative reports from the IEC.

Mkhwanazi said he would be attending a management meeting, which includes the IEC, where he would receive a detailed report on any incidents.

“This morning during a meeting we received a report that the IEC had to fire one of the presiding officers because they discovered he is affiliated to a political party. So those are some of the things we had to deal with and that’s why we have police officers trained to be able to take over the roles of presiding officers,” he said.

With regard to reports of a lack of police to escort presiding officers to collect voting material before voting stations opened, the commissioner said out of nearly 5,000 voting stations, a small number were affected.

“You are going to find glitches from time to time and some challenges in transport, some of the members that might have arrived later, but that does not necessarily mean that voting station would have opened late as a result,” he said.

Mkhwanazi said while there were some incidents, it should be acknowledged that policing an election is a big operation. “We cannot guarantee that a vehicle is not going to break down and a puncture is not going to happen.”

He said stations classified as low, medium and high risk may change depending on intelligence.

“We have a lot of our intelligence members moving amongst the crowds and sensing the tensions and any risk you might have to expect, so when we go into the meeting and they give reports, that might move a voting station from low risk to high risk, depending on the information we are getting on the ground,” he said.

Mkhwanazi said their operations don’t end once voting is completed, but rather once the SAPS is comfortable that there is stability and a new government is put in place.

The Mercury

Previous article‘Proteas can go all the way at T20 World Cup’ says coach
Next articlePolice make arrests for election crimes