IEC: Everything in place for elections

Police assured the electoral body that hot spots have been secured ahead of Wednesday’s poll.

The Independent Electoral Commission says everything is in place for tomorrow's elections. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says everything is in place for South Africans to vote from 7am until 9pm on Wednesday.

Police have assured the commission that hot spots have been secured to allow voters to cast their ballots safely.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya says the reported irregularity involving the storage of a ballot box at a party agent's home has been fully dealt with by the body.

It involved two special ballots that were cast in KwaThema on Gauteng's East Rand.

The IEC official has since been removed and the matter reported to police who would have to decide whether to bring charges.

Moepya commended those who reported the incident and said the cameras on mobile phones carried by most South Africans had become another powerful election observer.

He appealed to protest-hit communities to respect the rights of South Africans to make their voices heard.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has moved to assure the safety of all South Africans.

Speaking to Eyewitness News on Tuesday, she said regular policing will not suffer during tomorrow's elections.

Extra officers have been deployed to hot spots around the country, while even senior managers have been brought in to help with communication as well as command and control.

Government has also deployed soldiers to help secure over 20,000 polling stations, while President Jacob Zuma has admitted that so-called hot spots are of deep concern.

Phiyega says the police is ready to act.

"The whole service is at work. We are making sure that our normal business of taking care of crime takes place and we are making sure we cover the entire election environment."

LIMPOPO

The IEC has suspended operations at eight voting stations near Tzaneen in Limpopo due to demonstrations by residents in Lorraine.

Community members on Monday barricaded roads leading to 25 other villages.

The police's Hangwani Mulaudzi says, "We want to ensure that the area is stabilised and people are able to go and vote but at the same time, we will not hesitate to take any action against anyone who is seen to be breaking the law."

GAUTENG

There are still no signs of voting stations in the volatile Gugulethu informal settlement on Gauteng's East Rand.

Residents have been protesting for a second day over a lack of government services in the area.

Large contingents of officers have been deployed to the troubled area to ensure everything goes smoothly tomorrow.

Scores of policemen have set up a permanent base in Gugulethu just hours ahead of the elections.

Ekurhuleni Community Safety MMC Mthuthuzeli Siboza says the disruption of elections will not be tolerated.

More than 60 people in the informal settlement have been arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property.

This after an IEC polling station and a public building were set alight yesterday.

Residents on Tuesday refused to be addressed by municipal officials until all those who were arrested were released.

In Bekkersdal on Gauteng's West Rand, residents are planning a community meeting to plead for peace during the polls.

The township has experienced a wave of violent service delivery protests in recent months.

There has been mixed reaction from residents to the heavy South African National Defence Force and police presence in the community.

The Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents' Association's Paseka Ndevu says some people feel intimidated as the army reminds them of the brutal apartheid regime.

"The intention of the meeting is to mobilise the community to go and vote tomorrow. We are expecting a peaceful process whereby no one will be intimidated."

The ANC earlier conducted a motorcade parade through the streets, which only attracted a handful of residents.

Supporters waved ANC flags and sang struggle songs as others jeered the ruling party as it passed through the sewage-strewn roads.

Many locals say Wednesday's voting will be peaceful due to the high police presence in the area.

There will be six police officers at each voting station.

NORTH WEST

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has given his last election message at Wonderkop in the North West, the same area where he launched his party last year.

The expelled ANC Youth League leader tried to woo striking miners and their families on this last day of campaigning.

He told striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members that the EFF will take their wage fight forward.

Malema once again lashed out at his former party and its leaders, saying President Jacob Zuma and ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa care more about animals than humans.

Ramaphosa bid millions of rands for a bull two years ago, sparking controversy at a time when so many people were living in poverty.

The EFF leader told Marikana residents the government of today doesn't care about their strike or that they are struggling to put food on the table.

He also lashed out at Zuma for avoiding the Marikana area after 34 people were gunned down by officers during a violent wage strike back in 2012.

The fatal shooting took place at a Lonmin mine in the area.

Malema called on Marikana residents to think about the shooting when casting their ballots on Wednesday.

The controversial politician was well received in the North West.

The EFF commander-in-chief also visited Freedom Park, an area that Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had to evacuate last month after he received a hostile reception during an election rally.

WESTERN CAPE

Political parties spent most of Tuesday cramming in last minute electioneering in Cape Town and the province.

According to electoral law, parties must stop campaigning at midnight.

The ANC's Songezo Mjongile says the party intends canvassing for votes until the very last minute.

The EFF's Nazier Paulsen says they'll be holding a night vigil in Langa to pray for peaceful polls.

AgangSA spent the day educating people on how to vote.

The party focused on several communities in Cape Town this afternoon, while in Gauteng, members visited areas including Soweto and Katlehong.

The African Christian Democratic Party says it's satisfied with the support they've received during campaigns across the country.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the Democratic Alliance has been busy with visits to Atlantis and Mitchells Plain.

KWAZULU-NATAL

Police say over 800 officers from Durban will be deployed to remote voting stations across the province to avoid political instability.

Forty one people were arrested earlier on Tuesday for public violence and arson after a community hall in Mandlazini was torched.

KwaZulu-Natal Chief Electoral Officer Mawethu Mosery urged police to be alert on election day and when results are announced.

The province has a checkered history of political violence, notably faction fighting between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party in contested regions.

While political violence has been reduced in the past five years, police will still be on high alert.

Mosery urged officers to guard against any political activity at polling stations.