Police vow zero tolerance of misconduct at polls 

In the aftermath of the recent political violence outside Polokwane, Limpopo provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe said on Friday that a heavy police contingent would be deployed to ensure safety during elections. 

Although Limpopo is a relatively peaceful province, the recent political scuffles between members of the ANC and the EFF in the shack settlement of Juju Valley have prompted the police to up the ante. 

Last weekend, Juju Valley, on the outskirts of Seshego – a township in Polokwane, degenerated into a chaotic scene of political skirmishes. A nine-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to the head on Sunday. More than 20 people were injured. The minor girl is fighting for her life in the ICU ward at Polokwane Provincial Hospital. 

On Friday in Kimberley, the police, together with the South African National Defence Force, the State Security Agency and all other stakeholders within the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, conducted a joint parade, where Northern Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Koliswa Otola expressed confidence in their state of readiness. 

Otola flagged the spread of fake news, unverified information, rumours or threats on social media platforms, adding that the culprits “seek to cause unnecessary panic and confusion and, in some instances, incite possible violence”. Otola warned that those found to be sharing inflammatory messages and inciting violence would face appropriate charges. 

Western Cape police plan to deploy more boots on the ground at various voting stations in the province.  

During a media briefing on Thursday, the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, announced the deployment of a maximum of six police officers at high-risk, four at medium-risk and two at low-risk polling stations. These officers will be on alert for signs of political intolerance, protests, and criminal activities that may disrupt the voting process. 

Patekile reported that 49 out of the 1 572 voting stations in Western Cape were considered high risk. “Our job is to ensure that everyone is safe when they leave their homes to exercise their rights. We will continue to ensure that normal policing continues to ensure visibility, in partnership with all the role players.” 

In KwaZulu-Natal, the security cluster has identified more than 200 voting stations as high risk. The SAPS said that the Operational Intelligence Coordination Committee was continuously monitoring the potentially volatile areas. 

At least 17 000 police officers have been deployed to the province, and the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has warned that 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”. 

In Free State, police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said officers will be -deployed strategically across voting districts, actively monitoring potential threats and disruptions and engaging with communities through awareness campaigns.  

Makhele said that the SAPS was collaborating with the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure seamless logistical management and resolution of issues. The officers have undergone rigorous training to prepare for various scenarios  
during the elections. 

“Our intelligence units are actively monitoring any potential threats or disruptions that may affect the elections,” said Makhele. 

North West police are planning to hold a media briefing tomorrow to discuss their readiness. 

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