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Cele assures no protests will disrupt elections

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Police Minister Bheki Cele has promised that there would be no protest or shutdown aimed at disrupting elections and preventing South Africans from exercising their right to vote.

Speaking on behalf of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster in Pretoria on Thursday, 11 April 2019, Police Minister Bheki Cele assured that no South African would be prevented from exercising their democratic right to vote due to protest action, come 8 May 2019.

“We will not say that people do not have a right to protest, the only difference is that the right cannot infringe on another person’s right to vote,” he said.

Supported by State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) Commissioner Mosotho Moepya, Cele announced that they had already identified hot spots where police visibility would be heightened ahead of the national elections on 8 May 2019. According to him, these hot spots include areas in KwaZulu-Natal, where there is still “the Inkatha [Freedom Party]/ ANC problems.” However, he would not detail the safety and security plans for the hot spots.

“Hotspots? Yes. Detailed plan? No,” he said.

Meanwhile in Vuwani, Limpopo, protesting residents have declared that no voting would take place in the area. This comes after widespread protests across the country against the lack of service delivery.

“We will continue to deal decisively with the so-called ‘no go’ areas; all voting station will be accessible to all.

“Those rights shouldn’t infringe on [the] rights [of] other South Africans that want to practice their Constitutional rights of voting … no police will stop any legal and peaceful protest,” Cele said.

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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