South Africa News

Bheki Cele says nationwide voting running smoothly, extra police sent to Eastern Cape

Police Minister Bheki Cele says voting is going well in the country except some parts of the Eastern Cape, where a voting station remains closed.

Cele voted at Lamontville High School in KwaZulu-Natal, where the queues were quite long, according to the minister.

In the Eastern Cape, one voting station remained closed as the community stayed away from the polls.

Cele: More police deployed

Elsewhere, voting was going as normal as more police officers had been deployed to the province.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had also been deployed to other areas believed to be hotspots of political violence.

“We have scanned the country this morning and, so far, it doesn’t look like we have major problems except for the Eastern Cape, where some voting stations have been closed and the IEC has withdrawn its staff but we have sent more police at that station,” said Cele.

“The issue there is that the community itself has taken the decision not to vote. But looking around, the stations have been opened. We believe that everything will be okay.”

Cele said no ballot boxes would leave any voting station without being escorted by the South African Police Service (SAPS) or other law enforcement.

“Law enforcement agencies are also there to escort the ballot papers out of the stations. There will be no ballot papers that will go out of the voting station without an escort. But communication must be improved by the IEC to make the call on the members of the SAPS,” said Cele.

“There are areas where there will be the SANDF, not too many of them, because there is no war in the country. Police are adequate, unless there is an extra thing that will necessitate the call for the SANDF to be invited. In other areas, it will be the metro officers who will escort the material.”

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