Police remain on high alert amid vote count

Lieutenant General Phahlane has praised the 77,000 police officers who were deployed across the country.

Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Pahlane arrived in Vuwani this week. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

PRETORIA - While the police believe they successfully secured the elections yesterday, their job is not over, as the counting of ballots continues and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) prepares to announce the winners and losers.

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane gave an election security briefing in Pretoria yesterday.

Lieutenant General Phahlane praised the 77,000 police officers who were deployed across the country.

"We're confident that we've done our best to create safe and secure environment for all South African people to peacefully make their mark."

But he says their job is not yet done.

"We shall remain in place to allow our citizens to celebrate the results of the voting in a peaceful environment. We call upon the communities and all role players to remain responsible and to respect the rights, lives and property of others."

The electoral commission says it has not received any reports significant incidents of unrest.

VUWANI ARRESTS

Phahlane also confirmed the arrest of three Vuwani community leaders on charges relating to attempts to disrupt the elections.

Vuwani saw violent protests earlier this year in which over 20 schools were damaged.

Phahlane said police arrested three Vuwani community leaders on Monday.

"They were arrested because of the irresponsible conduct, trying intimidate people, trying to say elections are not going to take place in Vuwani and we consider that to be a violation of the law."

He said this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.

"We will continue to pursue anyone who keeps on making these statements, trying to intimidate people and trying to prevent people from exercising their democratic right."

While the three accused have appeared in court, Phahlane said more suspects are still being sought.

VIOLENCE HOTSPOT OF VUWANI

Yesterday, the acting national police commissioner said the police secured the violence hotspot of Vuwani to ensure elections go ahead as planned.

Phahlane said the police secured the 56 voting stations in Vuwani.

"Each and every one of this stations is going to be manned by the police who will ensure that the electoral material is delivered there. we will also secure he IEC personnel."

He said police were present on the ground.

"We are very satisfied as law enforcement agencies with our plans to ensure that an environment is created for people to be able to exercise their democratic right."

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