Police officers stand for inspection.
~ Ian Carbutt
Pretoria - Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane says they will act against anyone carrying dangerous weapons during gatherings, as millions get ready to vote in the upcoming August 3 local government elections.
"The Dangerous Weapons Act of 2013 and the Regulation of Gatherings Act of 1993 provide for the right of citizens to gather peacefully, but to do so without bearing dangerous weapons, inflicting harm on others or damaging property or infrastructure," he told reporters on Friday.
"The South African Police Service will be uncompromising in the enforcement of these Acts and will, under no circumstances, allow the carrying of any prohibited or dangerous weapons by any member of the public at any public gathering."
Phahlane said firm, measured, but decisive action would be taken against anyone found to be in contravention of the Acts. He said law enforcement and compliance was a must.
Phahlane maintained that the 2016 local government elections would be conducted in a safe and secure environment.
Citizens urged to observe laws
"All of us have a responsibility to contribute toward the conducting of free, fair, safe and secure elections. The mandate of the South African Police Service demands from us to lead in the process of securing the elections and to allow all South Africans to cast their democratic vote without any fear or intimidation.
"The South African Police Service will, particularly during this upcoming elections, endeavour to make the dreams of all South Africans a reality through the execution of this," he said.
Phahlane called on South Africans to play an active role in ensuring that there is order. He said citizens have a key role to play, not only in exercising their democratic right to vote, but also in conducting themselves in an orderly and responsible manner.
"We, therefore, urge every citizen of this country to act responsibly, observe the laws of our country and to co-operate fully with the police. Simply put, there are a couple of do’s and don'ts that we require the public's assistance with. Our call for action to all South Africans is for them to go to their respective voting stations as early as possible on election day to avoid long queues and over-crowding," said Phahlane.
He also called on all South Africans to be tolerant of others whose political affiliation may differ from theirs, and not to only abide by the laws applicable to the elections, but also to the country in general.
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.