Over 20 suspects behind bars for elections related offences

POTCHEFSTROOM - As part of ensuring safe and secure elections as well as dealing with acts of criminality, police in Ganyesa arrested 21 suspects on Monday, 6 May 2019 for Contravention of Section 87(1)(e)(i)(vi) of the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No.73 of 1998).

The suspects aged between 17 and 41 years were arrested in Mmadinonyane village near Ganyesa for torching a vehicle belonging to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s Area Manager. According to information available at this stage, reports suggest that the Area Manager and another official were driving separately in their vehicles, of which one was loaded with IEC voting material. They were allegedly stopped by members of the community who robbed the pair of their cell phones before setting the two vehicles alight, both of which were damaged as a result. The incident led to damage to the voting material that was loaded in one of the vehicles. A police vehicle that was escorting the two vehicles was allegedly pelted with stones.

Subsequent to investigations launched after the incident, 10 female and 11 male suspects were arrested and are expected to appear in the Ganyesa Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 9 May 2019 on charges of Contravention of Section 87(1)(e)(i)(vi) of the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No.73 of 1998), malicious damage to property and robbery.

The Chairperson of the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (PROVJOINTS) and the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane condemned this and other incidents in the strongest possible terms and indicated that any person who has intention to disrupt elections and/or commits any criminal act will be dealt with harshly. Barricading of roads, restricting or preventing of access to voting stations, inciting violence, damaging infrastructure, intimidation and assault among other acts, constitute conduct prohibited by law and those who commit any of these acts will be arrested and face legal consequences, said the Provincial Commissioner.

She assured members of the community that security forces will be deployed in numbers to ensure that those who will going to voting station to exercise their constitutional right, do so in a safe and secure environment.

Source: South African Police Service