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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

Six arrested after 3 days of disrupting elections, including destroying a voting tent

The same group of people destroyed a voting tent on Sunday, returned on Monday to threaten IEC volunteers, and blocked a road on Tuesday.

Six suspects aged between 24 and 51 were arrested at Mavundleni locality, Eastern Cape, between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning on charges of contravention of the Electoral Act.

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Police spokesperson Captain Welile Matyolo said it is alleged that at about 4 pm on Sunday, a voting station in the form of a tent was destroyed by alleged suspects complaining of service delivery in the area.

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A case was opened to that effect but on Monday, the same group threatened Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) officials to close the station so no one would vote.

Then on Tuesday, the same group mobilised a road blockage, burning tyres and preventing any movement in the area.

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The police’s OR Tambo district detective election team assisted by Public Order Policing members conducted an operation on Tuesday night through to Wednesday morning and arrested the six suspects.

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

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Extra police sent to Eastern Cape

Police Minister Bheki Cele told media on Wednesday that voting is going well, except in some parts of the Eastern Cape, where a voting station remains closed. Additional police had been deployed to the province.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had also been deployed to other areas believed to be hotspots of political violence.

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“We have scanned the country this morning. So far, it doesn’t look like we have major problems except for the Eastern Cape, where some voting stations have been closed and the IEC has withdrawn its staff. We have sent more police to that station,” said Cele.

“The issue here is that the community itself has taken the decision not to vote. But looking around, the stations have been opened. We believe that everything will be okay.”

Cele voted at Lamontville High School in KwaZulu-Natal, where the queues were quite long, according to the minister.