Few problem areas ahead of elections: Cele

2011-05-17 16:30

Ulundi - There were few problem areas requiring police attention ahead of Wednesday's elections, National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele said on Tuesday.

"[I] spoke to all provincial commissioners this morning and I am very happy with the situation in all the provinces so far. Things are under control," he said.

Cele was in Ulundi on Tuesday to assess the police's state of readiness for the local government elections.

He said he was constantly receiving updates from all provincial commissioners on the security situation ahead of the elections.

The only problem areas were Flagstaff and Pedi, in the Eastern Cape, and Standerton, in Mpumalanga.

"I have been told that there were people blocking the road in Flagstaff and we have sent more police to help these areas," said Cele.

Extra police had also been sent to Wembezi, in KwaZulu-Natal, where there were tensions between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Freedom Party, he said.

More political tolerance

Other KwaZulu-Natal areas receiving extra police attention were Nongoma, Ulundi, Umsinga, Lindelani in KwaDukuza and hostels in Durban, Cele said.

He was impressed with the level of political tolerance during the campaign for the elections, and said there had been few incidents of political intolerance compared to previous elections.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, only 23 complaints had been lodged in KwaZulu-Natal since the start of the election campaign.

There were 200 during the previous election.

Cele warned that the police would arrest people who disrupted the elections.

He said the police were searching for the man who sent a hitman to kill Obed Qulo, an African National Congress candidate in Newlands East, Durban.

Attack

The ANC said the attack was politically motivated.

"We strongly believe that the incident was politically motivated because of the timing of the incident," said ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala.

He said the ANC believed the attempt was made by people who wanted to create "vacancies" for themselves.

"People know that if you kill a ward candidate, a by-election will be held and they get a job of being a councillor," said Zikalala.

Qulo narrowly escaped death when he overpowered a man sent to kill him.

"We have arrested a man who tried to kill an elections candidate in Durban's Newlands East yesterday [on Monday]," said Cele.

"We are now looking for a person who sent him," he said. "We have been told that they were sent from Johannesburg to attack Qulo."

He said the hitman had wounded himself in a scuffle with his intended victim.

"We have been told that the ANC candidate saw that he was about to be attacked and there was a scuffle between him and the attacker," said Cele.

The hitman was arrested.

- SAPA

Read more on:    bheki cele  |  elections
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