Tight security to keep guard on voter registration process
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