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Blocked roads, looting and violence reported in the Eastern Cape

Motorists have been urged to use alternative routes as several roads coming into and out of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape are closed due to alleged taxi violence. 

Trucks were also allegedly looted during the blockading of roads on Monday, 27 May. 

VIOLENCE AND LOOTING INCIDENTS REPORTED IN EASTERN CAPE 

Earlier on Monday, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, the South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, confirmed that the main road, the N2 and the R61, was closed.

Naidu said five suspects were arrested at about 9:00 after shots were fired at Public Order Policing and Mthatha Vispol members. 

“Two suspects sustained injuries while the other three were arrested. Two firearms were also confiscated. A case of attempted murder and possession of firearms is opened for further investigation.

“Public Order Policing, the National Intervention Unit, and Tactical Response Teams are in Mthatha policing the situation,” she explained. 

Eastern Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, warned people circulating videos and messages that appear to incite unrest. 

Mene said such actions are not only irresponsible but also illegal. 

“We will take strict action against anyone found to be engaging in activities that threaten the safety and security of the public and the integrity of the election process,” Mene said. 

PROVINCIAL NATJOINTS CONFIDENT ELECTION PERIOD WILL RUN SMOOTHLY 

The incidents in the Eastern Cape happened just hours after the Provincial NATJOINTS assured that everything is ready for the National and Provincial Government Elections commencing Monday, 27, through Wednesday, 29 May. 

On Sunday, the Eastern Cape Police Commissioner indicated that the SAPS is ready to deploy sufficient members throughout the province to ensure that the election process takes place peacefully at the 4 868 polling stations in the province.

The Eastern Cape ProvJOINTS is a multi-stakeholder platform representing the National and Provincial spheres. Its main objective is to support all role players in ensuring the smooth running of the election process.

“The safety and integrity of our election process are paramount, and we have taken extensive measures to ensure a secure and peaceful voting environment. 

“We would like to assure communities that all safety and security measures are in place and that every citizen in this Province can exercise their democratic right to vote in a safe and secure environment,” Mene said.  

In addition, Mene said certain areas had been identified as hotspot areas, which they have categorised as low, medium, or high-risk areas. 

She said they have implemented measures to mitigate potential threats through threat assessment. 

“Deployments to these areas are by the level of risk identified through intensified operations. To meet the increased demand for security, we have deployed additional police officers throughout the province. Maximum police members, including specialised units, will be deployed to the 4868 polling stations.

“There will be zero tolerance for criminal activity during the election period. This includes voter intimidation, fraud, violence, and any other action that could undermine the democratic process. Anyone found engaging in such activities will face swift and decisive action. We strongly condemn spreading fake news, unverified information, rumours, or threats as it can cause panic or incite violence in some instances,” she warned. 

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