The SAPS has promised to clamp down on political killings, and will deploy 100 000 officers to secure the local government elections on Wednesday.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane on Wednesday assured the nation that the massive deployment would ensure that the polls were peaceful.
Of the 100 000, just over half – or 54 000 – will be stationed at the IEC’s more than 22 000 polling stations.
The rest will be mobile, seeking out any potential threat of violence.
Nhleko said more than20 000 of the polling stations had been identified as low risk, with 1 300 low risk and 650 high risk.
It was in the high-risk areas where extra police officers would be deployed, said the minister.
He added that the police had kept a close watch on the volatile areas and were speeding up investigations of the cases involving political assassinations.
About 20 people, mainly ANC, National Freedom Party and IFP candidates, have died in political violence since the start of the year.
The ANC alone has had more than 14 candidates murdered.
In the most recent incident, a ward candidate was gunned down in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Tuesday night.
Nhleko said the police had received good co-operation from the public and political parties on some of the murder cases and that investigations were continuing.
“We will continue to investigate and follow up the leads in all these cases. We are working with the prosecuting authorities to fast-track these cases,” Nhleko pointed out.
Phahlane said the security agencies were ready for the polls. He assured South Africans the deployment of 100 000 officers would not disrupt normal policing.
Nhleko said KwaZulu-Natal hotspots had been put on the radar with high visibility and intelligence agencies.
The police officers who will be deployed to man the 22 000 stations will be assisted by mobile units who will be ready for any trouble.
Securing the elections was the number one priority of the police, who would not leave anything to chance, the minister said, adding that they wanted to ensure the high-risk areas remained stable.