With less than 100 hours until South Africa’s fifth democratic elections kick off, the countdown has begun. Political parties are pulling out all the stops to woo last-minute voters, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is geared up to receive its 25.3 million voters and over 20 000 law-enforcement officers have been deployed across the country, with the SA National Defence Force on stand-by. On Saturday, the ministers in the justice, crime prevention and security cluster visited Bekkersdal in Gauteng to assure residents that voting will proceed smoothly. The township – which has been engulfed in service delivery protests since last year – is one of several areas countrywide identified as hot spots ahead of the elections.
The ministers conducted a walk-about in the township on Saturday, following a meeting with leaders of the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association.
The security cluster ministers’ visit to Bekkersdal is the seventh in a series of visits across KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and North West. Other areas that have been identified are Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, Malumelele in Limpopo, Madibeng and Rustenburg in the North West and Wembezi in KwaZulu-Natal.
But on Saturday, the ministers told a media briefing that the other areas identified as hot spots have stabilised ahead of voting, thanks to visits by cabinet’s security cluster over the past two weeks.