Elections: SAPS deployments

The number of SAPS members deployed to voting stations will be determined by a risk assessment.

The number of SAPS members deployed to voting stations will be determined by a risk assessment. Picture: sxc.hu

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the number of South African Police Service (SAPS) members to be deployed to voting stations on election day will depend on a risk assessment.

Millions of South Africans will go to the polls on 7 May to vote in the country's general elections.

Mthethwa says law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to ensure the polls are free of violence.

"The scale of deployments at each voting station will depend on how each area has been characterised, in terms of being a hot spot."

Government says law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to ensure the elections are incident free.

As part of efforts to ensure the polls are safe an inter-ministerial team is to visit volatile communities that have been affected by service delivery protests.

It will be areas such as Bekkersdal on Gauteng's West Rand that the inter-ministerial committee will be focusing on.

The area was hit by a series of violent protests.

February's voter registration weekend was also affected by community unrest.

The police minister says the committee intends visiting flash points like Bekkersdal.

"We are taking rounds to go to these areas to further interact communities because we do not want anyone not to exercise his or her democratic right."

Mthethwa says the scale of deployments to voting stations across the country will be determined by risk assessments.

Soldiers will also be on standby to help the SAPS on Election Day.

Meanwhile, ministers in the justice and security cluster have given the Independent Electoral Commission its vote of confidence ahead of the polls.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele says they are satisfied the IEC is ready for elections, this despite the controversy surrounding chairperson Pansy Tlakula, who the Public Protector found guilty of maladministration in a leasing scandal.

But Cwele says despite these problems, the commission will deliver.

"Just a few days ago we had a meeting with the IEC, where we were further assured by all those in the meeting that despite the challenges they are united in ensuring we have credible elections."

SERVICE DELIVERY PROTESTS

Less than a month before the elections, Gauteng has been hit by violent service delivery protests.

Demonstrations took place in protests in Tsakane on the East Rand and Winterveld outside of Pretoria on Monday morning.

Community members of Tsakane in the East Rand barricaded roads, demanding houses and electricity.

According to police the motive behind the Winterveld protest remains unclear.

At the same time, in Cape Town, the Ses'khona Peoples Rights Movement has hit back at a councillor who has accused the organisation's members of setting his home alight.

The African National Congress (ANC) councillor's shack in Gugulethu was petrol bombed earlier this month.

He has accused Ses'khona members of being responsible for the attack.

This follows another incident where a resident's house was destroyed by disgruntled locals in the area.

The movement's Andile Lili says people are angry because they claim the councillor is never available.

"A councillor is supposed to be someone who is actually accessible for 24 hours and not someone who is accessible only for one hour, in an office."