Cele identifies KZN and NW as high-risk areas for election day disruptions

Police Minister Bheki Cele that over 51,000 police officers will be deployed to voting stations on election day, while 3,000 reservists and other stand-by teams are ready and waiting to be deployed where necessary when South Africans take to the polls.

Police Minister Bheki Cele (centre) and the security cluster ministers brief the media on the state of readiness for the 8 May elections. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Police Minister Bheki Cele said that KwaZulu-Natal and the North West province have been identified as high-risk areas for this year's elections.

High-risk areas are prone to violent protests which may disrupt the casting of votes in the affected locations.

The minister also announced that over 51,000 police officers will be deployed to voting stations on election day, which is in just under a week.

Platoons and units comprising of officials from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are already on the ground in the North West and KZN where Police Minister Bheki Cele said that special attention will be directed.

The minister said this is after threats to free and fair elections were made in these areas, with some communities planning to protest over various issues on election day.

“We come in when there are violent actions, when it begins to interfere with the constitutional rights of other people.”

Cele was briefing reporters in Pretoria on the security cluster's state of readiness ahead of next Wednesday’s polls.

He said that 3,000 reservists and other stand-by teams are ready and waiting to be deployed where necessary when South Africans take to the polls.

Meanwhile, the cluster said that some areas in Gauteng have also been flagged and in Limpopo, Vuwani which was a hotspot during the 2016 elections due to violent protests, will also be receiving special attention.