It’s all systems go to peaceful elections, says Mamabolo

Army to help police during voting

Koena Mashale Journalist
A timeline of what is expected to happen over the next few days during the election period.
A timeline of what is expected to happen over the next few days during the election period.
Image: IEC

Police are on the lookout for a third suspect who allegedly interfered with the property of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) in Mpumalanga after his two accomplices were arrested. 

The IEC also revealed last night in a press conference that another case was being investigated in which a presiding officer was accosted.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said vigilance cannot be justified when it comes to interference or intimidation. 

“The commission welcomes and encourages vigilance by contestants and observers in the electoral process. However, such vigilance must be exercised within the confines of the law. Interference with the unfolding electoral programme, logistical handling or even intimidation of electoral staff cannot be justified  

“We further welcome all interventions made by our law enforcement agencies. Two arrests have been made and two cases are being investigated by the South African Police Service for interference with electoral material as well as electoral processes,” said Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said there is one case in Elukwatini, Mpumalanga, where “persons who are alleged to be members of a political party interfered with the [ballot] box when it was taken to a storage. Two persons were arrested in that case, while the third person is being sought after.”  

By Tuesday afternoon, the second day of special voters, 937,144 out of 1.6-million registered special voters had been processed by the commission at 22,626 stations.

“This figure is much higher than was the case in the previous elections. Similarly, we are pleased by the diligence of the electoral staff who visited voters at homes and places of confinement to administer home visits,” said Mamabolo.

He said voting stations in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, were open and  operating on Tuesday. This is after 107 stations were closed due to taxi unrest in the area on Monday.  

Mamabolo said the network of 23,292 voting stations will open for voting at 7am on Wednesday and close at 9pm, with approximately 360,000 voters having been approved to vote outside their voting districts.

He added that police will be deployed at various stations during Wednesday's voting.

“On the day of special votes, they [police] would have heightened patrol and not just static deployment. Deployment will happen as of tomorrow [today]. So what happens is that one has to look at visibility, you’ve got to look at it in the context of that plan. Police had to do the heightened patrols as against static deployment, but from tomorrow morning [today] when you go to stations, police would have been deployed,” said Mamabolo. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also extended the deployment of the army to the cost estimate of R59,4m to preserve law and order during the elections. 

Spokesperson for the presidency, Vincent Magwenya, said 2,828 members of the army will be deployed with the police. 

“President Ramaphosa has informed the acting Speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces that the  deployment of army personnel will form part of Operation PROSPER and applies from 20 May to 7 June 2024,” said Magwenya. 

The commission urged all the remaining 26-million eligible voters to go out and cast their votes on Wednesday.

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