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SAPS set up 24-hour command centre to deal with protests

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole said that police are taking proactive steps to ensure they weed out criminal elements within service delivery protests.

Protesting Alexandra residents on 8 April 2019 carry tyres as they make their way to the City of Johannesburg's local municipal offices. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole says a 24-hour command centre has been set up to tackle a spate of protests that erupted countrywide this week.

WATCH: 'Enough is enough': City of CT must scrap high water bills, say protesters

He's suggested that criminal elements are leading the demonstrations. The commissioner was speaking at a briefing on the police’s preparations ahead of the 8 May elections.

WATCH: Rubber bullets, tear gas & a church set alight: What happened in Tshwane?

Sitole said that police are taking proactive steps to ensure they weed out criminal elements within service delivery protests.

“Apart from the operational processes running, we’ve formalised a centre that operates 24 hours.”

Authorities said that they are concerned about the possible disruption of elections due to the protests.

But Independent Electoral Commission’s commissioner Mosotho Moepya says they're ready for any eventuality.

"The commission has powers that it can expand on, that it can postpone voting..."

Sitole says all security measures are being taken to ensure a smooth election.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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