‘No hesitation’ over election arrests by security forces

2014-05-05 08:22

Security forces will not hesitate to arrest those believed to have committed election-related crimes, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) said.

“To date, police have arrested 63 people in 84 reported cases,” Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said.

They were arrested for alleged public violence, intimidation, common assault, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and contravening sections of the Electoral Act.

Law enforcement would continue its zero-tolerance approach to those seeking to derail the elections.

“Furthermore, police arrested four suspects when they conducted cordon-and-search operations at Freedom Park near Rustenburg in the North West in the early hours of this morning,” said Makgale.

“Four suspects between the ages of 26 and 40 were arrested and dangerous weapons, such as knives, knobkerries, pangas, spears, steel pipes, wooden sticks, sjamboks, axes and grass cutters were seized.”

The four were also found in possession of items they allegedly stole from shops in the area between April 26 and April 27.

Law enforcement agencies would continue to stabilise problematic areas through crime prevention operations.

“Experienced prosecutors are readily available to deal with any election-related criminal case generated and give relevant guidance to the investigators,” he said.

“Natjoints is satisfied with the manner in which people conducted themselves during different political gatherings that took place today [Sunday].”

Makgale said Natjoints urged all South Africans to respect every person’s democratic right to vote.

“Our police officers will be deployed at every voting station and we will also be monitoring problematic areas very closely to ensure that these elections are conducted in an environment that is free and fair,” he said.

“Let these arrests serve as a reminder that the joint security forces remain focused in their efforts to ensuring a free and fair elections.”

The elections will be held on Wednesday.

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