Freedom Park residents torch IEC tents

A case of arson is now being investigated but no arrests have been made.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials during voter registration weekend. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police have confirmed two Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tents in Freedom Park, south of Johannesburg, were burnt last night as residents vented their anger over power failures in the area.

A case of arson is now being investigated but no arrests have been made. There are also no reports of injuries.

The police's Noxolo Kweza says it's not yet clear why election infrastructure was targeted.

"That's going to form part and parcel of our investigation. It would be difficult for us to say why they would specially target the IEC tents."

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has announced the deployment of 2,000 soldiers to help maintain law and order during the elections.

The police and metro police departments have also deployed large numbers of officers.

In his latest statement, Zuma has urged all South Africans to vote in the local government elections, which he believes will be a "resounding success".

Zuma says the 2,000 soldiers will help maintain law and order during and after their elections.

The troops will be on duty until next week Wednesday.

The police is deploying nearly half of its members to be on election duty, while in Johannesburg almost three thousand metro police officers have been assigned to protect the polls.

Zuma has assured the nation a free and safe election, describing it as a precious right and a key celebration of the country's hard won freedom.