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Defence Minister Thandi Modise says the deployment of about 10 000 soldiers was a request from President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure safety and security in the country during the local government elections.
She says hotspots with possible disruptions of elections in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were had been identified. President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced the deployment.
Speaking to the SABC after casting her vote at Mahikeng high school at Ward 7 in the North West, Modise says, “Our deployment if you look at it, every hotspot you would have at least four police on standby not interfering with IEC. You will not expect to see a soldier there. Well, where there is no problem, we didn’t get any, we didn’t deploy. Where there was no risk we would get maybe two on standby.”
Minister Modise says the deployment of the SANDF was to avoid incidents similar to those of the recent unrest in July. She says no soldiers will be visible at voting stations unless there is a need.
Modise says the National Defence Force is deployed to assess the situation at national key points and to be on standby to escort the ballots.
“It is important to say that we would not have deployed so many people if we have not really assessed the need. We don’t want to leave anything to chance. We would rather air on the side of caution, but you will not see a soldier in this voting district or the next one. They will be looking at escorts, they will be looking at all the strategic installations in South Africa.”
The Minister has urged new councillors to work closely with their voters in ensuring that people have trust in the leadership that they have put into power.
Over 10 000 soldiers deployed in hotspot areas: Cele