14 April 2014
The police, defence force, and departments of State Security and Home Affairs have taken stringent measures to ensure that South Africa’s upcoming elections – coinciding with the country’s 20th year of freedom – are fully free and fair, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Leading a media briefing by the government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster in Pretoria on Monday, Mthethwa urged all South Africans registered to vote, especially young first-time voters, to come out and cast their votes on 7 May in honour of the founding father of the democratic nation, Nelson Mandela.
Mthethwa said stringent measures had been taken by the departments in the cluster, especially in areas identified as hotspots, and that police deployments in the build-up to the elections would be made according to risk assessments.
“We will not allow anyone to derail the elections or prevent anyone from exercising his or her constitutionally enshrined right to vote.”
He called on the public to report any cases of intimidation, adding that special courts would be in operation so that cases involving incitement to violence could be speedily resolved.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said South African National Defence Force members would be on standby to provide backup to the South African Police Service, as well as logistical support to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said Home Affairs offices across the country would be open from 7am on election day to enable people to collect their identity documents. According to Pandor, Home Affairs is currently sitting with 122 000 uncollected IDs and 23 000 uncollected smart card IDs.
The department has deployed 117 mobile offices to provide extra capacity for processing ID applications, and all border posts will be open and functioning on election day to allow South Africans living or working abroad to come home to vote.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said all 155 000 inmates in the country’s 242 correctional facilities were registered to vote. The IEC, working with the Department of Correctional Services, has made arrangements to ensure that inmates are able to vote.