8 May 2019

South Africa: SA Elections - Security Beefed Up in Violence Hotspots

SECURITY has been tightened in violence flash-points as South Africa holds general elections. Among areas with heavy police and military presence is the economic hub, Gauteng, which has been the scene of service delivery protests and threats of election boycotts.

Alexandra, Bekkersdal, Ennerdale and the capital city Pretoria have been the most vulnerable to criminality as electorate cast their votes on Wednesday.

Gauteng provincial police stated security deployment has been activated in the 2 760 polling stations across the province.

Over 3 000 Johannesburg Metro Police officers (JMP) have been deployed across the megacity.

Mathapelo Peters, Gauteng police spokesperson, told media that measures had been put in place in anticipation of possible security breaches that were prevalent in previous elections.

"These include intimidation of voters and electoral officers, obstruction of voting and the voting process, public violence and malicious damage to property, theft and common robberies at or near voting stations."

Other hotspot provinces with significant deployments of uniformed forces include KwaZulu Natal (KZN), Limpopo and the North West.

South Africa has a history of election violence.

In the last poll in 2014, 97 people were arrested for election-related offences, primarily voter intimidation on voting day.

A supporter of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was shot dead outside a polling station in KZN.

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