Elections 2019: IEC Has Plan To Protect Capetonians Amid Gang Violence

A Bonteheuwel resident stands with a placard during a protest against gang violence on 29 August 2018. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN

CAPE TOWN – With gang violence on the rise in several Cape communities, police and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) have put plans in place to ensure safety at voting stations.

IEC provincial chairperson Courtney Sampson says they are having regular meetings with the police’s anti-gang unit.

Sampson was responding to questions on their readiness for the elections.

On 8 May, South Africans will go to the polls. But for many in gang-infested communities on the Cape Flats, a walk to a voting station eight could end in bloodshed.

Since the start of the year, a reported 25 people have been killed in gang shootings in Bonteheuwel alone.

Sampson says they are doing all they can to ensure the safety of voters.

“We have prepared ourselves for whatever may come out.”

Sampson says he has confidence in the plans of all law enforcement agencies.

Electoral officials say this is the first election since democracy where gang violence has been a specific threat to the elections.

Sampson says violence was not an issue during the 2016 local government elections and 2014 general election.

“It wasn’t a big deal at that time. We have learnt that if you engage before hand with issues you get much further instead of waiting for conflict.”