NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Police, army to patrol 650 election hotspots

Tue,21Nov2017

Posted on Tuesday, 02 August 2016 15:21

South Africa: Police, army to patrol 650 election hotspots

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

Photo©Peter Dejong/AP/SIPASouth Africa's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it has identified almost 650 election hotspots, which would be patrolled by the police and the army ahead of Wednesday's local government elections, which observers see as a litmus test for the ruling African National Congress.

In one of the hotspots, Vuwani in Limpopo province, local community organisations have warned that people may not be able vote.

Vuwani was brought to a standstill in July when communities took to the streets in protest. The violent protests left more than 20 schools torched after the communities of Vuwani lost a legal battle against the Municipal Demarcation Board.

Thousands of police officers and the army have been deployed across the country to ensure a free, fair and credible poll, with final results being known on Friday.

The IEC said it had received 28 complaints relating to alleged violation of the electoral code of conduct, with one ward candidate being disqualified.

South Africa's local government is comprised of three kinds of municipalities, which are run by councils – eight metropolitan municipalities, which are our big cities – 44 district municipalities, which co-ordinate local municipalities in a region and 207 local municipalities, which are towns and rural areas.

The southern African country's fifth local elections are viewed as the most contested yet, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) seeking to end ANC's dominance, but some analysts have pointed out that the ANC should never be "underestimated", as millions of undecided voters could vote for it.

All eyes will be on the so-called battle ground areas of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape and Tshwane and Johannesburg in Gauteng.

On Tuesday, political parties inspected the IEC's results operation centre.

The DA's Phumzile van Damme and Refiloe Nt'sekhe visited the Pretoria facility followed by EFF leader Julius Malema.

Later on Tuesday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC chairperson, Baleka Mbete, were expected to cast their votes in a special election, although the latter had to be turned back, as she did not have her identification particulars.

Special voting started on Monday and ends on Tuesday, with more than 700,000 voters, who, due to commitments may not vote on Wednesday, expected to cast their votes.

Meanwhile, on Monday, EFF leaders visited former President Thabo Mbeki at his Johannesburg home.

The EFF's Dali Mpofu told a local broadcaster that they had asked Mbeki to vote for the EFF, but he said his vote was his secret and the party respected the former leader's political choices.

The ANC said it was not worried about Mbeki's vote, as they know he is a dedicated and committed member of the party.

General voting happens on Wednesday at 7am until 7pm local time.



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