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2024 ELECTIONS

More than 100 cases of Electoral Act violations reported over voting days — national police commissioner

More than 100 cases of Electoral Act violations reported over voting days — national police commissioner
Defence Minister Thandi Modise said during the media briefing that Natjoints had not and would not be engaging the MK party. Natjoints had called for calm and would not deal with people looking to tarnish the name of South Africans. (Photos: Shaun Swingler and Chanel Retief)

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure says it is not yet alarmed by the MK party’s calls for a revote, but said it would be ‘very interested’ if anyone puts lives and property at risk.

Ninety suspects were arrested across South Africa for alleged Electoral Act violations over the three days of voting last week, South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner Fannie Masemola told a National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, 2 June 2024.

Masemola said 130 cases had been registered over the three days of voting, with 43 cases registered and 33 people arrested during the two days of special voting from 27 to 28 May. On 29 May, 87 cases were registered and 57 people arrested.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections dashboard

Overall, 90 people were arrested with most getting bail, while 22 are still in jail.  

Natjoints, which consists of the SAPS, the South African National Defence Force and the State Security Agency, is responsible for coordinating all security and law enforcement operations in South Africa. Before the elections, Natjoints had assured South Africans that it was taking all possible measures to prevent crime and disruptions during the elections.

Daily Maverick previously reported on a Natjoints briefing where Police Minister Bheki Cele had noted that authorities were monitoring 500 high-risk polling stations out of 23,000 around the country. He did not state where those polling stations were or how many law enforcement agents had been deployed there.

On Sunday, Masemola shared little information about where the arrests had been made, saying those details would be released later. He said most cases were in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Cele said on Sunday that there had been flare-ups linked to the taxi industry in KwaZulu-Natal, specifically in Port Shepstone and Durban, the day before the election, as well as in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. He said no further violence was expected as the taxi industry in KwaZulu-Natal awaited discussions on 11 June. 

“As a security cluster, we would like to assure South Africans that the law enforcement agencies stand ready to maintain peace and stability as they have done throughout the elections period. Any attempts to undermine the authority of the state and South Africa’s constitutional order will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly,” the minister said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Taxi violence surge — Mthatha blocked off as gunshots heard, people warned to stay indoors

Regarding post-election violence, with some concerned that former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud could spark unrest, Natjoints said they were appealing to all South Africans to respect the laws of the country.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise said during the briefing that Natjoints had not and would not be engaging the MK party. Natjoints had called for calm and would not deal with people looking to tarnish the name of South Africans, she said. 

“We are appealing to all parties and individuals in South Africa; we all have the same rights under the Constitution of this country – not only to exercise that Constitution but to respect everybody else’s right to exercise their own. 

“We are hoping that our plea to all parties will be heard by all those involved … We are not looking to have a conversation with one party. We are appealing to all South Africans to respect the laws of South Africa,” Modise said. 

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said during the briefing that the MK party’s grievances and call for a revote should be addressed through processes outlined in the Electoral Act, not Natjoints.

“The party must follow the provisions of the Electoral Act so that they can raise their disputes in line with what the Act provides for,” she said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Jacob Zuma’s MK party wants a revote — but what does the law say?

Modise said: “The integrity of South Africa is part of our responsibility to safeguard. We take ourselves very seriously on that matter. South Africans have a right to comment and exercise their freedom of speech. 

“That freedom of speech we fought very hard for; it has limits. When it starts putting lives, property, at risk, then we begin to get very interested.” DM

Gallery

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