The day has finally come when millions of South Africans will head to the polls to elect their administration of choice in the 2021 municipal elections.
Watch: SANDF patrol hotspot areas
However, according to assessments made by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures (NATJoints), an element of threat may arise from a number of hotly contested municipalities. Therefore, to ensure the safety of 26.2 million eligible voters, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed 10 000 army officers to provide auxiliary support to the South African police in maintaining the peace on Election Day.
“The SANDF capability is required to deploy in cooperation with the SAPS to provide the required support and assistance in line with the constitutional legislative framework,” SANDF chief of joint operations Lieutenant-General Siphiwe Sangweni explained last week.
The SANDF soldiers will remain in deployment until Wednesday 3 November 2021, an excursion that will cost the public purse an estimated R47.2 million.
The army officials would not only be patrolling the streets, looking out for elements of chaos, but they are also tasked with:
- providing air transportation o delegates;
- standing-by for any reports of mass violence; and
- training military officers for work as election officials;
On Monday, army trucks had already been spotted in some areas.
#LGE2021 It’s election day & @SANDF_ZA members are already on the streets of Bloemfontein in the Free State. The @IECSouthAfrica says 1.4 million voters are registered for these elections in the province. 51 political parties & 134 independent candidates are contesting. #eNCA pic.twitter.com/pcjQ6WdhWV— Siphamandla Goge (@SiphamandlaGoge) November 1, 2021
It’s all systems go for 2021 municipal elections
On Sunday, Glen Mashinini, Chair of the Electoral Commission (IEC), declared that all systems were ready to record the votes of millions of registered South Africans on Election Day.
Sunday marked the end of the special votes process, 80% of which were successfully cast. The next phase of this monumental democratic process is to ensure that votes cast on Monday are done so in the correct manner.
“Voters are reminded to vote where they are registered. Voters must be in the possession of a South African ID book. Each voter in a metropolitan municipality will receive two ballots, one for the political party and the other for the metro. Each ballot paper must be stamped.Those voting in districts will receive three ballots.
“We need to remind voters that it is illegal to take photos of the ballot paper. Voting stations will be safe, police will be in place. Covid-19 protocols will be provided and PPEs will be available to prevent the spread of the virus,” Mashishini said.
Read more on how to cast your vote.