Tight se­cu­rity to keep guard on voter reg­is­tra­tion process

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

SE­CU­RITY will be beefed up to make sure voter reg­is­tra­tion runs smoothly this week­end, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

“We are ready to deal with any even­tu­al­i­ties,” said Na­tional Joint Oper­a­tional and In­tel­li­gence Struc­ture chair­man Lieu­tenant­Gen­eral Elias Mawela.

The struc­ture in­cludes the SAPS, the SANDF and sev­eral other govern­ment de­part­ments.

Voter reg­is­tra­tion takes place to­day and to­mor­row through­out the coun­try.

“It will be the task of the joint se­cu­rity forces to en­sure that this process takes place in a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment, free of in­tim­i­da­tion and vi­o­lence,” Mawela said.

He said joint oper­a­tional cen­tres had been set up coun­try­wide, and would mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion closely. In the past, the joint se­cu­rity forces had en­sured that crimes dur­ing the 2009 and 2011 elec­tions did not go un­pun­ished, Mawela said.

“In the 2009 elec­tions, a to­tal of 496 sus­pects in all of the nine prov­inces were ar­rested in con­nec­tion with elec­tion-re­lated crimes. A to­tal of 68 peo­ple were found guilty of crimes rang­ing from in­tim­i­da­tion to mur­der.”

He said in one case an ac­cused was sen­tenced to life plus 15 years im­pris­on­ment for an elec­tion­re­lated mur­der in Umko­maas, KwaZulu-Na­tal, in Jan­uary 2009. “Ev­ery­one qual­i­fy­ing to vote must be able to choose freely with­out fear of vi­o­lence,” Mawela said.

KwaZulu-Na­tal Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Wil­lies Mchunu urged res­i­dents to ob­serve re­straint and tol­er­ance to en­sure voter reg­is­tra­tion was peace­ful.

“Judg­ing by re­cent by-elec­tions in KwaZulu-Na­tal, it is clear that po­lit­i­cally, KwaZulu-Na­tal has come of age and is achiev­ing po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity. Let us carry our­selves with dig­nity, a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and let ev­ery­one freely reg­is­ter for the up­com­ing elec­tions,” Mchunu said.

He said his­tory had shown that po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing, in­tol­er­ance and vi­o­lence con­trib­uted noth­ing pos­i­tive for the prov­ince.

The IEC said it was ready to con­duct voter reg­is­tra­tion in all nine prov­inces, even in ar­eas that had been iden­ti­fied as hot spots be­cause of ser­vice de­liv­ery protests. “We have made ar­range­ments, even in the ar­eas you call hot spots, for reg­is­tra­tion to con­tinue, be­cause we can­not have a sit­u­a­tion of no-go ar­eas,” IEC chair­woman Pansy Tlakula said. “We are aware of very few ar­eas in the coun­try where there are some prob­lems.”

Protests had been held in Mala­mulele in Lim­popo and in Bekkers­dal in Gaut­eng. – Sapa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.