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North West Police warn against disruptive protests during elections

───   KEKELETSO MOSEBETSI 15:49 Mon, 27 May 2024

North West Police warn against disruptive protests during elections | News Article
Photo: OFM News.

“Law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to act against anyone undermining the state’s authority.”

Police officials in North West have promised to deal decisively with residents planning to protest about lack of service delivery which may result in intimidation and causing damage to critical infrastructure during elections.

A Province Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure media briefing was held on Monday morning (27/5) to address the safety and security of voters and residents during the upcoming elections.

The briefing followed the start of special votes by the IEC, which are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. These special votes serve as a precursor to the main elections on Wednesday, which has been declared a public holiday to facilitate voter participation.

‘Extensive safety measures have been implemented’

SAPS provincial spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone emphasised the readiness of the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, jointly led by the police, SANDF, and the State Security Agency. Mokgwabone assured the public that extensive safety, health, and security measures have been implemented to ensure free, fair, and credible elections.

“The … operation was meticulously prepared months in advance,” he stated. “We have put in place plans to create a secure and conducive environment for the IEC to carry out its duties and for eligible voters to exercise their right to vote without fear of violence or harm.

“Resources for disaster threats are also in place.”

‘Protests will be dealt with decisively by the police’

Officers and members have been deployed across the province, with 1 698 voting stations prepared for 136 639 walk-in votes and 43 526 home visits during the special votes period. The Provincial Joint Operational Centre is coordinating the election security plan through five District JOCs, which will remain active until the final election results are announced.

Mokgwabone highlighted the identification and monitoring of high-risk voting stations to ensure appropriate security measures. “We are closely monitoring hotspots where attempts to intimidate or influence the community to disrupt the elections have been reported.

“Protests regarding poor delivery of basic services that result in intimidation, threats, damage to critical infrastructure, or road barricading will be dealt with decisively by the police.”

‘Normal policing services will continue on voting days’

He cautioned against the misuse of legitimate community concerns by individuals aiming to disrupt the elections, urging parents and communities to resist being manipulated and to report instigators anonymously to local police stations.

“Law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to act against anyone undermining the state’s authority. We also want to assure law-abiding citizens that normal policing services will continue on voting days.”

Regarding election-related incidents, only one case of defacing election posters was recorded in Lomanyaneng, Ngaka Modiri Molema District, in April. Investigations are ongoing, and no arrests have been made.

‘Political parties have confirmed their readiness for the elections’

Mokgwabone warned social media users against spreading unverified information or posts that could incite crime or cause panic. “We are relatively satisfied with the current stability in the province and are ready to secure the elections from today until the last vote is counted and post-election activities are concluded.”

Meanwhile, political parties such as the EFF have confirmed their readiness for the elections.

OFM News/Kekeletso Mosebetsi mvh

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