Molefe Seeletsa

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

2024 elections: Eastern Cape police arrest 17 suspects for blocking people from voting

In Gauteng, at least 20 people were arrested in connection with election-related crimes.

Police in the Eastern Cape arrested 17 individuals for attempting to prevent citizens from voting on election day.

On Wednesday, millions of voters cast their ballots in South Africa’s seventh national and provincial elections.

LIVE interactive map, latest news, multimedia and more!

View Map

Members of the South African Police Service (Saps) were stationed at every voting location across the country, with protocols established to promptly address any disruptions.

Eastern Cape arrests

In Eastern Cape, police apprehended at least 17 people for attempting to block people from voting.

“With the taxi violence in Mthatha, there were five arrests and we recovered three firearms.

“Those people appeared in court. With the other incidents in the province, there was about 35 arrests which are not voting related.

“But in the area of Avondale in the Alfred Nzo District, there were 17 people that were arrested specifically for block the community from going into the voting station and trying to force those that were at the voting station not to vote,” Eastern Cape police commissioner, Nomthetheleli Mene told eNCA on Wednesday.

Mene said the suspects are currently in custody.

Additionally, six people were arrested in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, for disrupting election activities.

ALSO READ: Two KZN police officers reprimanded after incident at voting station

It is alleged that around 4pm on Sunday, a tent serving as a voting station in Mqanduli was destroyed by individuals protesting against service delivery issues.

While a case was subsequently registered with the police, the same group threatened Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) officials, demanding the closure of the station to prevent voting.

On Tuesday, the same group escalated their actions by organising a roadblock, burning tyres, and preventing any movement in the area.

The suspects were subsequently arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They have been detained at Mqanduli police station and will appear at the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Gauteng arrests

In Gauteng, some people were arrested in connection with election-related crimes, according to Gauteng police provincial commissioner, Tommy Mthombeni.

Mthombeni conceded that it was “a little bit challenging” for Gauteng police to ensure that communities felt safe, but assured that provincial law enforcement was able to restore order.

He confirmed that at least 20 people have been apprehended since President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed the election date in February.

“I can confirm that since our last update, the number of the cases reported has indeed gone up and currently we are having 20 within the province where suspects have been arrested,” Mothombeni said in an interview with the SABC on Thursday.

READ MORE: 2024 elections: Two arrested for tampering with ballot boxes in Mpumalanga – IEC

The Gauteng police commissioner reported that several individuals were arrested for the offence of taking photos with their ballot papers.

“Some of the cases, for example, you will find that a particular individual casts his vote, and after casting his vote, they then take a picture, which is prohibited.

“Some of the issues are some typical cases of intolerance by the voters where they ended up in a scuffle, and then they fight.

“Ultimately, one of the voters will approach the police and open a case docket. So those are some of the cases which we have picked up recently,” Mthombeni explained.