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E Rand policeman warns journalists

2014-05-07 14:33
(Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

Johannesburg - A police officer on Wednesday told a group of journalists covering an election day protest at the Evergreen informal settlement in Springs that they were having an illegal gathering and could be arrested.

The uniformed officer, who did not have a name badge, said they were too close to the voting station and were in violation of the Electoral Act.

The group, which included journalists from The Citizen, Beeld, YFM, and a photographer from The Star, was at least 100m from a church tent being used as a polling station when they were warned.

The journalists had been interviewing people protesting over their living conditions and for the release of people arrested during previous protests.

Police continued trying to disperse protesters who ran between shacks and then regrouped.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele earlier visited the area.

Boundaries

The start of voting at the area's polling station was delayed for over two hours as the church's pastor wanted an assurance that they would be covered if the tent was burnt down or damaged. There had been arson attacks in the area since Monday.

At a pre-election briefing for journalists, the Electoral Commission advised the media to stay outside voting station boundaries if possible and that they could only conduct interviews outside these boundaries.

Presiding officers could use their discretion on whether to allow journalists into a voting station.

Pictures were not allowed to be taken inside without consent of the voter and the officer and no photos of voters' ballot papers were allowed.

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- SAPA
Read more on: iec  |  siyabonga cwele  |  johannesburg  |  election 2014

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