IEC voting station (File: Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Twenty-seven people, including a minor, arrested in North West for allegedly contravening the Electoral Act, have been released on bail.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said 20 suspects, who were arrested during violent protests in Ganyesa on Monday, were each released on R1 000 bail by the Ganyesa Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
The minor, who was arrested in Mmadinonyane village near Ganyesa, was released separately into the custody of his parents.
Mokgwabone said that - as part of ensuring safe and secure elections and dealing with acts of criminality - police in Ganyesa had arrested 21 people for the contravention of Section 87(1)(e)(i)(vi) of the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No.73 of 1998) and malicious damage to property.
"The suspects allegedly torched a vehicle belonging to the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) area manager. According to information available at this stage, reports suggest that the area manager and another official were driving separately in their vehicles, of which one was loaded with IEC voting material.
"They were allegedly stopped by members of the community who robbed the pair of their cellphones, before setting the two vehicles alight, both of which were damaged as a result. The incident led to damage to the voting material that was loaded in one of the vehicles. A police vehicle that was escorting the two vehicles was allegedly pelted with stones," said Mokgwabone.
The 21 suspects were expected back in the Ganyesa Magistrate's Court on July 1.
READ: UPDATE: 21 suspects to appear in court for contravening parts of the Electoral Act
Meanwhile, six people who were arrested on Thursday in Modimong village, in Taung, were also released on bail. They were each granted R600 bail by the Taung Magistrate's Court.
Mokgwabone said the suspects allegedly removed IEC banners erected outside voting stations in the area on Tuesday.
The six people are expected back in Taung Magistrate's Court on June 4.
Chairperson of the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and the provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, condemned the incidents and indicated that any person who disrupted elections or committed any criminal act would be dealt with harshly.
"Barricading of roads, restricting or preventing of access to voting stations, inciting violence, damaging infrastructure, intimidation and assault among other acts, constitute conduct prohibited by law and those who commit any of these acts will be arrested and face legal consequences," said Motswenyane.
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