Police deployed to election 'no-go areas'

The Police Minister and the security cluster have been deployed to the North West.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and members of the security cluster have been deployed to the North West to deal with so called "no-go areas" before the elections.

Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma missed two opportunities to engage with communities in the province while on the campaign trial.

Zuma was scheduled to visit several areas including Sonop, but he never showed up apparently due to security concerns.

Mthethwa was assigned at the 11th hour to address hundreds of people who had gathered to hear President Jacob Zuma speak.

Dressed in yellow ANC T-shirts, the crowd waited six hours to see him, but many began leaving when they realised this wouldn't happen.

Zuma spent the day locked in a closed meeting with religious and faith-based groups in Madibeng.

Mthethwa, who briefly addressed a small group of Sonop residents after dark, told them not to listen to bitter non-ANC members like former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils telling them not to vote for the ruling party.

"You must go out in your numbers and prove them wrong."

He urged North West residents to allow IEC officials to carry out their work during the elections.

The president also failed to visit Marikana, the scene of a deadly August 2012 wage strike which saw 44 people lose their lives during the month-long violence.

He changed plans to avoid heightening tensions in the mining region.

The North West mining town, which is near Rustenburg, is at the centre of an ongoing strike by platinum workers which has already lasted three months.

On Monday, around 4,000 people stormed and looted a shopping centre in Rustenburg in an incident which police suspect was related to the current labour unrest.

South Africans will head to the polls on 7 May.