Law enforcement ready to deal with threats during elections

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has assured South Africans that a conducive environment for a peaceful election has been prepared.

Sufficient security measures put in place

“As the NATJOINTS, we are confident that the measures that have been put in place are sufficient to ensure that the country’s upcoming general elections proceed without any incidents of crime and disruptions,” Deputy National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said on Sunday in Pretoria during a media briefing.

Led by the SAPS, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the State Security Agency (SSA), the NATJOINTS has conducted a national security assessment with key role players in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster.

WATCH | NATJOINTS briefing: 

On May 29, South Africans will once again get an opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the 2024 national and provincial elections, which marks the country’s seventh democratic elections.

“The planning for the safety and security of the 2024 general elections has been finalised. The operational phase will commence from Wednesday, 22 May 2024 with the activation of the NATJOINTS Coordination Centre, until 09 June 2024.

Around the clock monitoring

“This NATJOINTS Coordination Centre (NCC) is operating around the clock, closely monitoring the situation in the country through proactive identification of threats and vulnerabilities.

“The centre serves as a central point of contact for the coordination of information and the reporting of incidents to ensure a swift, prompt and coordinated response,” Mosikili said.

This is where all operations in relation to major events in the country, including the national and provincial general elections, will be coordinated.

The NCC structure is mirrored at provincial level through the Provincial Joint Operation and Intelligence Structure (PROVJOINTS), which is activated through the provincial joint operation centres.

Five-pillar approach

The NATJOINTS and PROVJOINTS five-pillar approach is being implemented to ensure that all areas of concern are covered through:

  • Intelligence gathering, analysis and co-ordination;
  • Proactive approach, which includes high visibility to police, prevents and responds to any crime eventuality;
  • Combat approach through law enforcement in response to any violation of the law through deployment of specialised units, supported by the SANDF should the need arise for the SANDF to exercise their secondary role of supporting the SAPS;
  • Reactive approach through detection and case management; and the fifth approach; and
  • Awareness and information sharing led by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Electoral Commission (IEC), the NATJOINTS and other government departments will keep interested parties and communities at home and abroad updated through messaging that will enhance the safety and security of everyone in the country. The media will continuously be updated on a daily basis during the election period by the NATJOINTS.

“While measures have been put in place, the ultimate responsibility of a safe and secure election lies with each one of us. It is a partnership that is required to create harmony, respect for self and others even as we make our way to the polls and back home,” she said.

Risk assessment

Working through the Operational Intelligence Co-ordination Committee (OICC), the NATJOINTS have identified a number of high-risk voting stations and potentially volatile areas, which are being monitored on an on-going basis.

“Deployments are subsequently proportional to the level of risk identified through intensified operations, informed by thorough analysis and intelligence-based reports.

“Threats identified such as community protests are already being attended to and those that are found to be in contravention of the law are being dealt with. Our Public Order Policing Units are on the ground and are ready to prevent and combat any such incidents,” Mosikili said.

The NATJOINTS is aware of social media posts calling for a shutdown by a group of truck drivers.

“As previously communicated, there will be zero tolerance towards threats, intimidation and closure of our roads. Law enforcement agencies are on high alert to ensure there are no criminal activities and that law abiding citizens are not inconvenienced. We call on the Road Freight Industry workers to communicate their grievances within the confines of the law. We reiterate our stance, that no lawlessness and any form of criminality will be tolerated,” she said.

The NATJOINTS is in the first phase of the elections.

Keeping a close eye on hotspots

“To this end, the NATJOINTS is satisfied that from a security point of view, the securing of voter registrations, policing of gatherings, celebrations and demonstrations, intensifying stabilization at hotspot areas across the country, enhancing visibility and ensuring crime prevention around election related matters, has been executed with precision.

“The second phase of the election, which is the period from the 27th [of May 2024] up until the announcement of the results, will see static deployments at voting stations, escorting of voter material and IEC staff, securing of election warehouses, transportation of voting material and the enforcement of the Electoral Act,” Mosikili explained.

During the third phase, which is the period after the election results have been officially announced, plans are already in place for police to monitor celebrations and gatherings.

Preparations for the inauguration of the president are also in full swing.  –

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