SAPS to escort ballot papers to counting stations.

Ballot box. Image: IEC

Cele ensures secure escort of ballot papers to counting stations

Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that South African Police Service members will escort all ballot papers, to counting stations.

SAPS to escort ballot papers to counting stations.

Ballot box. Image: IEC

Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed that members of the South African Police Service will accompany all ballot papers to local storage sites and counting stations, emphasising the importance of security measures during the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

Speaking after casting his vote at Lamontville High School in KwaZulu-Natal, Cele detailed the extensive efforts to safeguard the electoral process.

SAPS will escort all ballot papers to counting stations

The South African Police Service (SAPS) will escort all ballot papers to local storage sites and counting stations, which will be guarded 24/7.

“There will be no ballot papers that will go without the escort [of the SAPS] ,” Cele stated.

To bolster these efforts, over 2000 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed to assist police, though their presence will be limited to specific areas.

“There are areas where the SANDF will be present, but not too many because there is no war in the country. In other areas, it will be the metro police,” Cele explained.

The Electoral Commission reported that 93% of voting stations opened on time, both online and physically. Any delays at certain stations were attributed to late deliveries of ballot papers, materials, security escorts, or community protests.

However, eager voters formed queues early, demonstrating their commitment to participating in the democratic process.

IEC notes a good progress with minimal incidents

By midday, the IEC noted good progress with minimal incidents. All trained staff were present to manage the 26 million eligible voters at 23 292 voting stations nationwide. The Commission assured that sufficient supplies, including over 90 million ballot papers, were available to meet voter needs.

Voters were encouraged to be patient, particularly during peak hours early in the day. In cases where voter management devices faced issues, the Commission allowed voting to proceed using manual voters’ rolls to avoid delays.

Additionally, voters were reminded to vote at their registered stations and to ensure they make one mark on each ballot paper to prevent disqualification.