General Election 2019 preparations: SAPS briefing

This premium content has been made freely available


19 March 2019
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee on Police met to be briefed by National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure on preparations for the 2019 General Election.

The preparations to ensure safe and secure elections spanned issues to the role of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure in the state of readiness for elections, the role players to ensure a peaceful and stable election and the mission of the Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure throughout the election. The Deputy Chief Commissioner briefed the Committee on specific issues regarding access to and securing of voting stations, the election security programme, the various threat assessments, the operational approach that would be employed and the operational concepts. He presented that the Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure deployment plan, the capacity and use of the National Reserve, and the Coordinating Structure of the election safety process. The national threat level with regards to the elections was otherwise thought to be stable, while the intelligence community was in constant contact with the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure.

The main concern of Committee Members was that power cuts that could affect voting stations on election day. The Committee urged that measures be taken to ensure each and every voting station was supplied with a generator.

Members had many, many other questions about arrangements for security on election day. Members asked whether South African Police Service members would be allowed to go on leave in May? What were the security measures around special voting booths? How would SAPS detect firearms and dangerous weapons entering voting stations? Were there agents working at correctional facilities and had they been vetted?

Members asked if all 21 964 operational police personnel would be deployed during elections. What would the functions of those personnel be? Were there specialised units, tactical response teams, public order policing and national policing? In terms of reservists and the reserve capacity, what situations were anticipated for the auxiliary force to be deployed? Of the 11 030 reservists that had been counted in May 2018, how many were there now? How would Commanders deal with absenteeism during the election period? Was the additional fund allocation of R180 million sufficient? Was there a sufficient flow of intelligence? Who would decide if SANDF was needed and what it was to do? What would be done regarding the defacing of and pasting over election posters? Was intimidation and physical threats being taken seriously at police stations?

Members asked what lessons had been learnt from the 2016 and 2014 elections and how similar eventualities were being prepared for. In terms of the threat assessment, was there an explanation of the possibility of risk that might eventuate? Regarding the Western Cape taxi industry, crime intelligence capacity and rollout was needed to neutralise threat, otherwise that looked like a real threat for the election.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson said the programme for the meeting would proceed as followed: the Committee would receive a briefing from the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) on readiness for the national elections to be held on 8 May 2019 and to provide reassurance to the Committee that all contingencies were accounted for in respect of the elections and that all citizens would be able to vote. The issue of possible industrial action by SAPS members would be discussed as requested by Mr A Shaik Emam (NFP) and, finally the Committee would adopt the last sets of minutes.

The members were given the opportunity to introduce themselves, followed by the Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, Lieutenant General S Masemola. Lieutenant General Masemola conveyed the apologies of the National Commissioner of SAPS, General Khehla Sithole, and introduced the delegation.

The Chairperson noted a representative from the Minister’s office and allowed for SAPS to proceed with the briefing.

Presentation by the South African Police Service

Lieutenant-General Fanie Masemola said that SAPS had prepared for the election for a lengthy period. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), which was chaired by SAPS had met several times to form a priority committee comprised of all relevant stakeholders in policing the election. NATJOINTS was ready to police the coming election.

The end of April would see the finalisation phase of plans. NATJOINTS was at the advanced stage currently, however some provinces were still lagging in terms of being fully prepared with voting stations. National security was stable; the intelligence services were constantly updating NATJOINTS. Current threats faced related to labour unions and strikes. Eskom posed another threat to the elections. A committee had been established with Eskom looking to mitigate the threats from power cuts during the election and developing contingency measures where that could not be avoided.

National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) Briefing to the Portfolio Committee on Police on the National and Provincial Elections 2019 State of Readiness

Major General Z Mkhwanazi, Component Head: Public Order Policing: Operational Response Services, SAPS, said that NATJOINTS was at the advanced phase of preparation to provide a status report on the safety and security planning for the national election in May 2019.


Election security would be managed through Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures (JOINTS) at National, Provincial, District/Cluster and Local levels to contribute towards creating conditions for free and fair elections. NATJOINTS had established Priority Committees at National and Provincial levels.

NATJOINTS reported to the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Director-Generals.


A broad range of role players were involved in the election security operations. These included: the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), South African Police Service (SAPS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), State Security Agency (SSA), Metro/Traffic Police, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the Demarcation Board, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ & CD), Government Communication Information Systems (GCIS), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the Department of Transport, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Basic Education the Department of Social Development (DSD), the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the South African Weather Service (SAW), Eskom, and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA).

Of these role players, the SAW had not yet presented to NATJOINTS, but was scheduled to engage on the 26th of March 2019 in detail. The remaining role players had already met for the planning process.


There was a total of 22 925 voting stations across the country. That was an increase of 313 stations since the previous elections.

The programme of the election timetable used for planning by NATJOINTS had been followed from before the registration for voting had closed and would be followed moving to the election. An important period was the period where a special vote would be held from the 4 to 8 April 2019 and when security would kick in and contingencies would be prepared for deployment. On the 27 April the special vote abroad was taking place.

From 5 to 7 May, SAPS officers would be voting. The main election day would be 8 May 2019.

Threat assessment

The threat analysis had helped NATJOINTS put their elections plan together and had determined that the main threat for the election was unrest situations caused by community protests (relating to water, houses, electricity, roads etc.), demarcation, instability in the transport sector, education, labour, anti-foreigner sentiments, and inter- and intra-political conflicts.

The debate surrounding land expropriation had continued to cause incidents of illegal land occupation and calls for further such action. NATJOINTS was looking into those issues. Community protest actions were evident in all provinces. NATJOINTS had looked at provinces that had the potential to provide the most issues: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Western Cape and the North West. The threat assessment was broken-down by community protest per province from the first of April 2018 to 20 February 2019.


The threat assessment demarcation was provided, showing that the situation in Vuwani in Limpopo, Ventersdorp in the North West, and Matatiele in the Eastern Cape were calm. Regarding the KwaMhlanga/Moloto Re-demarcation Task Team in Mpumalanga, there were demands for Moloto to fall under the Gauteng administration.


The transport threat assessment was characterised by incidents of taxi-related violence. The underlying issues included: disputes and contestation over taxi routes and ranks, and power struggles to gain control of taxi associations. The route disputes had been identified but were not limited to: Marshalltown and Ga-Rankuwa in Gauteng, Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, Bloemfontein in the Free State, Makado and Tubatse in Limpopo, Umsunduzi in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. Fatal shootings had been identified in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape and in Honeydew in Gauteng. The rising fuel price remained an issue that could catalyse protest action within the sector.

The threat assessment of education was indirect, but identified issues surrounding the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) at a variety of tertiary education institutions regarding accommodation, cases against accused or convicted student activists, and demands for postponement of exams due to outstanding payments of fees which could manifest in students being used as force multipliers and becoming direct threats to the elections.

Labour issues surrounded: the MyCiti bus strikes in the Western Cape, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) strikes in the North West, Free State and Gauteng, strike action by Dischem employees, the Nation Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) strikes that were imminent at Eskom, possible retrenchment of Bosasa employees, and citizens demanding employment from the IEC.

Political threat surrounded inter- and intra-political contestation and intolerance which was anticipated to increase as the elections got closer. These involved issues of intimidation, confrontations and altercations between opposition party members, intimidation of IEC staff members (specifically the Presiding and Deputy Presiding Officers) by, though not limited to, party representatives at voting stations and community members, the defacement of posters, clashes between rival political party supporters, inflammatory statements, disruptions of political gatherings, and attempts to prevent election campaigning by political opponents in certain areas. 


Threat assessment hotspots broken down by province had been provided by the IEC.

Operational approach

Phase one of the operational approach was the pre-election phase which would last until 5 May 2019. This involved debriefing of previous elections and voters’ registration weekend; intelligence gathering, analysis, and coordination; planning, coordination and monitoring, and identification of all polling stations, including Geographical Information System mapping. The operation would intensify stabilisation operations in hotspot areas, secure voter registration, police political gatherings, rallies and demonstrations. SAPS would enforce the Electoral Act; ensure safety in accordance with the Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA), by-laws and other legislation. The plan was to manage traffic on route to and from voting stations, escort voting material and IEC Commissioners, safeguard National Key Points, enhance SAPS visibility and crime prevention and be reactive through the Detection Approach. The operation would provide legal support, expedite processing of ID documents, and communication and liaison. Communication would play a major role and the Government Communication and Information Service would play a big role with corporates and SAPS officials.

Phase two concerned the operational approach during the election from the sixth to the eighth of May. It involved intelligence and information gathering, analysis and coordination; planning, coordination and monitoring; escorting voting material and IEC staff. That phase would also include contingency plans to meet changes as they arose such as: intervention of National Reaction teams; enforcing the Electoral Act, the SASREA, by-laws and other legislations. Contingency plans included managing traffic on routes to and from voting stations; escorting and protecting the IEC Commissioners; static deployment at voting stations, enhancement of visibility and crime prevention; securing election warehouses and establishing contingency transportation of voting material. Teams would remain reactive through the Detection Approach, bomb sweeping and prevention of explosive-related incidents, and conducting communication and liaison.

Phase three of the operational approach was the post-election period of 9 to 11 May 2019. That involved intelligence gathering, analysis and coordination; planning coordination and monitoring. The teams would police gatherings, celebrations and result announcements, ensure enforcement of the Electoral Act, the SASREA, by-laws and other legislation. The teams would pursue stability operations and enhance visibility in areas of concern. The joint operation would remain reactive through the Detection Approach bomb-sweeping and prevention of explosive-related incident, escorting voting material and IEC staff, conducting communication and liaison and, finally, demobilisation and debriefing. The election results centre headquarters was in Gauteng.

Operational concepts

Operational concepts explained how each role player would be involved in the elections’ security.

The IEC had conducted continuous briefings in all the NATJOINTS forums; identified and provided voting stations at permanent and temporary structures, warehouses, results operational centres, staff and voting materials. The IEC had also secured distribution of security voting material to warehouses, local storage and local offices and would be distributing voting material to voting stations, ensuring that all voting stations were secured, opened and closed on time. SAPS officials would be in position before and after those times. The IEC would apply for the categorisation for the announcement of results, in terms of the SASREA and ensure that safety and security was maintained at result operational centres. The IEC would also be distributing election guides. All voting stations would be open between seven in the morning and nine at night.

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the Demarcation Board would implement strategies to address community protests and inter-political/party violence, and address community concerns on demarcation resolutions. COGTA would coordinate rapid responses to all affected municipalities. SAPS would play a bigger role in that and the plans would align within the NATJOINTS structure.

Intelligence gathering, analysis and coordination by the Intelligence Coordinating Committee (ICC) involved SAPS, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Security Services Agency (SSA). Those bodies would collect and coordinate intelligence, including crime patterns in all phases and provide regular intelligence briefings to NATJOINTS. They would screen all voting stations, warehouses, results centres, IEC staff and service providers and conduct security audits. It would also be their job to classify voting stations according to low, medium and high risk and to issue accreditations.

The proactive approach involved SAPS, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Metropolitan Police Services (Metro Police), National Traffic Police, the IEC, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ & CD).

The proactive approach would be taken in relation to securing voting stations, protecting Presiding Officers, IEC and community members and preventing firearms and dangerous weapons from entering boundaries of voting stations. Furthermore, Presiding Officers would be escorted during home visits for special voting, collecting and delivering ballot papers/boxes and other election material as well as escorting voting materials from voting stations to warehouses for safer vote counting. The officials would conduct airborne patrols where access on foot was difficult; safeguard voting stations, warehouses and results centres. They would also monitor prioritised election-related cases at various electoral courts, manage traffic, security sweep warehouses and result centres and closely protect IEC Commissioners and National Key Points (NKPs) and infrastructure. Officials would conduct patrols, operate Vehicle Check Points (VCPs), and stops and searches. They would police political gatherings, rallies and demonstrations enforcing the Electoral Act, SASREA, by-laws and other legislations.


The combat and reaction approach involved SAPS, Metro Police, SANDF and COGTA. That approach involved the intensification of stabilisation operations at hotspot areas, conducting airborne support and intervention by National Reaction Teams in enforcing the Electoral Act, SASREA, by-laws and other legislation. They would intervene in incidences of disaster.

The reactive through detection approach involved the DoJ & DC, SAPS, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), NPA and DCS and involved monitoring prioritised election-related cases at various electoral courts and offering support for all the provinces from a higher level. The team would investigate all registered crimes related to elections, ensure crime scene management and provide expert guidance at relevant crime scenes. The team would take responsibility for the investigation of priority crimes cases, establishing dedicated investigation teams at district and cluster level, defining election-related incidents, in terms of the Election Protocol 2019 and ensure prosecution of election-related cases. DCS would handle voting within correctional centres, unless cluster intervention was requested.

The communication and liaison aspect involved GCIS, SAPS, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the IEC. It would establish media protocol, issue media releases and briefings, monitor the media, conduct awareness campaigns and coordinate all general security-related communication activities. That team would approve and monitor radio and network frequency and coverage.

Technology involved SAPS and the IEC and would provide IT support and infrastructure; radio communication; and update the Geographic Information System (GIS) map.


The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) would ensure verification of security guard credentials.

Training involved the IEC, SAPS, Metro Police and the SANDF. 93 SAPS and seven Metro Police Officers would be trained during the Training of Master Trainers at the Electoral Act Workshop from 26 to 28 March 2019. They, in turn, would train 3610 officials. The Training of Security Officials: Electoral Act Workshop involved SAPS and Metro Police being trained from 1 to 26 April 2019 in each province.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), COGTA, SAPS and SANDF would be providing disaster management and relief for voters in situations of natural and man-made disaster. The Department of Health (DoH) and SANDF would provide medical support.

Eskom would guarantee electricity and resolve electricity-related issues. The NPA, SAPS, DoJ & CD and the IEC would provide legal support. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) would provide weather updates. SAWS had not yet briefed NATJOINTS on the details of their operations during the elections.

The Departments of Higher Education and Basic Education would make voting premises and secure institutions available. The Department of Social Development (DSD) would coordinate locally-based community services. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) would facilitate international voting and coordinate international observers. DIRCO had briefed NATJOINTS on how international voters and observers would be dealt with.

The Deployment Plan

The deployment plan involved how to deploy members at police stations. The deployment ratio was flexible and involved a static deployment plan at voting stations with a two-member (low risk), four-member (medium risk), or six-member (high risk) deployment ratio determined by the threat and risk assessment and the need for reaction to a situation. That was a flexible measure across risk categories and remained adaptable.

Escort duties involved dedicated members escorting IEC Commissioners, staff and voting material. There would be static protection at warehouses for the duration of the election once the material had been delivered.

The reaction teams at cluster level would maintain roving reaction teams, especially at high and medium risk areas and would maintain investigation teams at district and cluster level. Different expertise had been moved together in order to deal with the range of issues faced under each cluster.

Hotspots had been classified according to low medium and high risk. That assessment was ongoing and fluid. KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape were priority areas and more members would be needed to assist in these provinces. Reservists would be deployed.

National reserve capacity

As part of the NATJOINTS deployment strategy, a reserve capacity of five teams would be maintained at National Head Office Level and would be deployed to any part of the country where a situation required intervention. They would be strategically placed in hotspots to deal with high risk situations and National Reaction Teams would intervene in any province of concern. Airborne support would be provided as per PROVJOINTS requests to all affected areas. The National Reserve would also assist the IEC with logistical and transport-related challenges. The SANDF would be present as a force multiplier if needed and was a last resort, but had been included in the planning.

Coordinating structure

The coordinating structure planning involved the establishment of the Priority Committees at National and Provincial Level and the establishment of an Event Safety and Security Planning Committee. The coordinating structure implementation involved Priority Committees evolving into a Joint Operational Committee (JOCOM) at National and Provincial levels. There would also be activation of Joint Operational Centres (JOC) and Venue Operations Centres (VOC). Senior offices would be taking decisions on what should be done based on the ongoing monitoring.

Lieutenant-General Masemola added that regarding the issue of budgeting, various allowances had increased over the years. The finance office and operational team were working on the matter. In the provisional call-up, 4 936 reservists had been called up. That might have increased by the time of the elections depending on the situations in the provinces. The SANDF was providing purely logistical support, particularly airborne support. Tanks could also be used to secure voting station venues if needed, based on weather threats and social volatility.


The Chairperson depicted a threat matrix particularly regarding electricity and internal SAPS labour threats.

In terms of the electricity issue, it was an IEC responsibility, but what was the plan to ensure the availability of electricity? What were backup plans? This would affect the IEC centres as well as SAPS’ ability to police the elections. Regarding the SAPS labour issues, what was being done to ensure stability entering elections within SAPS? Was the problem provincially-based? There had a municipal elections incident in 2016 at IEC House where unauthorised access had been gained. That did not fall under the JOINTS, but what was the assurance that key election facilities would be property secured?

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether SAPS members be allowed to go on leave in May? What were the security measures around special voting booths? How would SAPS detect firearms and dangerous weapons entering voting stations? Were there agents working at correctional facilities? Had they been vetted? Would that help with security? Regarding reservists on duty, would they receive a stipend?

Mr J Maake (ANC) asked a question about the Department of Social Development. What did it mean to coordinate community services? Slide 38 declared there were no high-risk areas. Was that the case?

Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked a question about slide 38 which said that all 21 964 operational personnel would be deployed during elections. What would the functions of those personnel be? Were there specialised units, tactical response teams, public order policing and national policing? In terms of reservists and the reserve capacity being used as an auxiliary force, what situations were anticipated for the auxiliary force to be deployed? How would SAPS deal with absenteeism during the election period? Was the additional fund allocation sufficient?


Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said that impunity of those who were violating the code of conduct was the central issue of most cases in elections. For example, destruction of party property and material, and intimidation was most frequent. Cases of one or two people that did not fall under issues of public order were the most common occurrence. Who was responsible for such things as that? In terms of Electoral Court decisions, very little had been done in cases of such electoral violations. However, during the 2010 World Cup, specialised courts had been deployed to take such decisions. Why was that not the case during the elections in order to ensure that courts were close to the perpetrators?

On the question of electricity, Mr Mhlongo said that that was not a theoretical issue. As the Chairperson had said, it was empirical. Some IEC officials were corrupt. If the power went down, it would provide opportunity for corruption and vote rigging. Would all voting stations be provided with generators? Regarding the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) deployment, since the discovery of oil and gas in KZN, several people had died. Why had Intelligence been so quiet about oil and gas belt-related incidents in KZN? If there was no deployment in Kwa-Zulu Natal, violence would be guaranteed. The threats in KZN were linked to oil and gas politics.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) referred to the 2016 elections as a means of comparison. How many instances of election-related violence and protests/disruptions had been reported per province? How many people had been handed over and convicted for election-related violence and protests? How would SAPS respond on election day in the light of those comparative statistics? She recalled that there had been many cases lodged.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that, even without electricity failures in the 2016 elections, there had still been issues where many voting stations had been reliant on scarce lamps and torches to continue operating. No officers had had lamps, only torches. The generators at stations were key.

She asked if there was a flow of intelligence from General Jacobs. Was it sufficient at that stage? It had been determined which were priority areas, and yet the post-Mdluli era had given the impression of having to start intelligence gathering from scratch. Could that be clarified? Of the 11 030 reservists that had been counted in May 2018, how many were there now? How would they be deployed?

Ms Kohler Barnard asked who would decide if SANDF was needed and what it was to do. Perhaps SANDF would have a transport role rather than active intervention. Various municipalities had bought Casspirs and Nyalas. Would they be deployed? There had always been issues with SAPS members being unable to vote. SAPS members often lost their provincial when hearing of last minute moves to different provinces where they were not registered. The feeling on the ground amongst SAPS officers was that that was deliberate. What was the actual procedure to prevent defacing of and pasting over posters? Numerous complaints had been raised and not addressed regarding intimidation and physical threats. Was that being taken seriously at police stations?

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) asked about the differing numbers of voting stations on slides 8 and 37. What lessons had been learnt from the 2016 and 2014 elections? Had JOINTS prepared for those eventualities, and where things had gone well, could they be built on? What were the indicators of policing performance that were being tracked?

He said that on slide ten there was no mention of electoral fraud as one of the explicit risks in the threat assessment. What were the key markers of electoral fraud that officers would look for and be trained to look for? Regarding slide 37, referring to investigations needing to be done in relation to elections, how many incidences of electoral fraud had been reported in 2016, broken down per province? In terms of voter intimidation and suppression (beyond intimidation of IEC officials), how many instances had been reported in the last elections, and how many convictions had there been?

Mr Mbhele asked, in terms of Public Order Policing (POP) units and issues of under-capacity, what was the current capacity? The last figure, given over a year ago, had been 5 600 personnel.

Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) asked, in terms of the threat assessment, if there was an explanation of the possibility of risk that might eventuate? It was a question of having done the necessary analysis. A complementary force to neutralise the threat was needed. In terms of the shortfall, would there be a complementary force to neutralise threats? Regarding the Western Cape taxi industry, crime intelligence capacity and rollout with the intention to neutralise threats was needed. The footprint of crime intelligence needed to be pervasive. Otherwise, that looked like a permanent threat for the election.

On POP units and their numbers, Mr Ramatlakane asked what the functional area of deployment of the special units was. In terms of a complementary force, that could be the army. Had the issue of officers being deployed to strategic areas been factored into the NATJOINTS plan? Moreover, the reserve call-up could be seen as a complementary force.

Lieutenant-General Masemola first responded to the issue of electricity. The IEC had deployed a number of generators at voting stations in previous elections to ensure there was capacity to respond to outages in areas, but not in every voting station. NATJOINTS would endeavour to increase the capacity through the electricity task teams. In terms of labour, SAPS had met with country station commanders to discuss this. The majority of members were at work.

Regarding unauthorised entry to results centres, Lt-Gnl Masemola said an accreditation system had been introduced to combat unauthorised access. For the voting privileges of security force members, there was a detailed circular that would be distributed to employees before the end of March explaining how members should go about the process for special votes. Firearms were not allowed in voting centres. Reservists that were called up would be paid for the work they did.

On the issue of the Eastern Cape and North West not having high risk status as voting districts, Lt-Gnl Masemola reported that Intelligence had a continuously-reviewed intelligence threat assessment and areas in these provinces would be high risk and continuously adapted to. Regarding enforcement of the Electoral Act, training would be undertaken as per slide 34. SAPS and Metro members would be trained. Master trainers would train 100 contingency police officers for the eventuality that IEC staff were unable to fulfil their job functions. There would be a 1-26 April training period.

Lt-Gnl Masemola said that on oil and gas issues in KZN, intelligence had engaged and provided preliminary feedback. Deployment would occur if the areas became problematic. In terms of the functions of deployed NATJOINTS members, reservists were a force multiplier. As a reserve force, what was it anticipating? Intelligence suggested spontaneous issues. The Eastern Cape and Western Cape were far from Pretoria; SANDF would transport reserve forces to those areas should they become problematic. Deployment of all five teams was dependent on the situation on ground. In terms of funding, the R180 million was insufficient. Raises in overtime, reservists’ costs etc. had contributed to the increase in costs.

On the question of sufficiency of intelligence, he said that it was correct that General Jacobs had said there was insufficient intelligence. However, the intelligence was not solely from crime intelligence, there was also intelligence from the intelligence co-ordinating committee, SSA and military intelligence. Regarding the deployment of SANDF, he said voting stations that could not be accessed on the ground could be reached by SAPS/SANDF aircraft. The air support role would be a solely logistical function. Tanks could be erected as secure polling stations where areas were volatile. In terms of municipal police, they were part of the national cluster and would be working as part of the broader security of elections.

Lt-Gnl Masemola responded to the question of SAPS members not being able to vote. A circular would be released to explain the procedure. It was, however, difficult for anybody now to indicate which member would be deployed where. Members of the five reserve teams would know where they would be deployed. On the defacing of posters, he said a defacement case should be opened by a member of the affected party. However, those activities usually occurred in darkness away from cameras, making it difficult to prosecute.

In terms of the number of cases, SAPS did not have the exact number. There had been a case of KwaZulu electoral fraud. There were low prospects of solving those cases and they were left unsolved as interest was lost after elections.

Lt-Gnl Masemola stated that the total voting stations numbered 22 925, the other figure was an error. In terms of lessons learnt from previous elections, one was that SAPS should have a deployment capacity in areas with the potential to become violent. Also, SAPS should ensure that members were deployed across areas ahead of the day of election. In terms of voter intimidation, SAPS did not have the statistics beyond the prominent cases. He left the question of POP unit capacity was left to the Component Head: Public Order Policing: Operational Response Service, Major General Z Mkhwanazi.

Lt-Gnl Masemola informed the Committee of the shortfall in various provinces and how it would be filled at the voting stations. Both reservist personnel and national forces would be used to fill those gaps. That would not affect roving specialised units. The Western Cape had extra members deployed to combat the problem of taxi violence. No specialised units would be stationed at voting stations. The training of police personnel in April 2019 included reservists. All police officials would be trained.

The Chairperson indicated that there would be a break before the Committee continued.

Police strike

The Chairperson resumed the meeting and informed Members that, while on the break, he had been engaged by striking SAPS members at the front gate of Parliament. A memorandum had been handed over to the Committee. The memorandum voiced disgruntlement with the handling of internal SAPS promotions and would be distributed to the Committee Members. The Committee voiced its concern about the issues raised and would deal with the matter as a matter of urgency for the sake of stability in SAPS. It was important that service delivery was not affected, however, and that the disgruntled workers returned to their posts.

Further discussion

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the electricity matter. In terms of going beyond sharing generators, what were other contingency plans where generators could not be shared around? Why were there only three identified hotspots in the Western Cape? Was that possible?

Mr Mbhele alluded to there being outstanding responses from Lieutenant General Masemola regarding the current POP unit’s personnel strength. Clarity had not been provided about the 900 officers to be trained in the Electoral Act. Would they not be part of the deployed capacity? They would be contingency presiding officers. That needed to be heavily unpacked as that was the IEC’s job and the IEC should have attended the Committee meeting to provide clarity. Why was SAPS making preparations for contingency presiding officers? That was the IEC’s job. SAPS should remain concerned with peace and security of the elections; the notion of SAPS taking over voting stations seemed to be a move towards police statehood.

Mr Mhlongo said the election programme was already underway. The Electoral Act enforcement needed to be enforce without the question of impunity continuing. Detectives and Heads of Crime Intelligence were needed in meetings of oversight Committees such as that one as those were divisional issues of reactive matters. There were a lot of gaps that needed to be corrected. Was there a timeframe for the finalisation of Electoral Act training? How could members of public and the provinces be alerted to who was responsible for enforcement of the Electoral Act?

Mr Ramatlakane said a degree of reassurance was needed regarding the uncertainty with electricity and standby generators and such.

Ms Molebatsi asked about the vetting of agents who were working in the electoral facilities.

Mr Maake asked for a response to the question about the Department of Social Development. Diesel was used by Eskom in some cases and that could be a manner in which assurance was provided.

Lieutenant General Masemola said that the list of hotspots was not final. In terms of generators, currently Eskom did not have numbers of generators equivalent to the number of voting stations. The department would go and see that warehouses had back-ups and how each department could contribute to electrical capacity on election day. There would be no load shedding on the day as a priority. The issue of how to cover voting stations on the day would be of secondary concern. Regarding the electoral contingency officers, the lesson learnt was never to employ those people, but they would be present in case they were needed. In terms of current training provided to police officers. Officers had received basic training, this was re-skilling, not first-time training. In terms of core positions of teams, each cluster had detectives to deal with cases.

Lt-Gnl Masemola returned to reassurances of electricity on the day. The number one priority was that Eskom and other stakeholders ensured no load shedding occurred on the day. Which departments could contribute to ensuring electricity to all affected stations would be priority number two. On the question of vetting of party agents, there were adequately trained agents. In terms of the Department of Social Development, the SAPS operational concept would be doing line function, in case there was a need.

Major General Mkhwanazi said there had been a typing error identified by Mr Mbhele, the number of voting stations was 22 925. The strength of POP units was 5 877, which included supporting members. The SANDF was not trained in crowd management and would never be used in such a role. The role of SANDF remained purely for disaster management and logistic support.

The Chairperson thanked the SAPS delegation and wished them well for the elections.


Minutes of 12/02/2019: Attendance was clarified. Ms Molebatsi proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Mr Ramatlakane seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 13/02/2019: Technical amendments were made. Ms Mmola proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Mr Mhlongo seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 14/02/2019: Technical amendments were made. Ms Molebatsi proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Mr Maake seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 19/02/2019: Technical amendments were made. Mr Ramatlakane proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Ms Mmola seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 20/02/2019: Amendments would be made to reflect what had happened after the written submissions. Mr Ramatlakane proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Ms Molebatsi seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 25/02/2019: Technical amendments were made. Ms Mmola proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Mr Ramatlakane seconded the proposal.

Minutes of 27/02/2019: There were no amendments. Ms Molebatsi proposed adoption and Ms A Mabija (ANC) seconded the adoption of the minutes.

Minutes of 28/02/2019: Technical amendments were made. Mr Ramatlakane proposed the adoption of the minutes with amendments and Ms Mmola seconded the proposal

Minutes of 06/03/2019: Technical amendments were made. Ms Molebatsi proposed adoption and Ms Mmola seconded the adoption of the minutes.

Committee business

Mr Ramatlakane asked what progress had been made with respect to the minutes to show that the Committee had been threatened by Mr Solomon. What progress had been made? Mr Ramatlakane was aware that a criminal case had been opened. Taking the threat presented to the Committee, could the Committee be kept informed?

The Chairperson thanked Mr Ramatlakane for the reminder and said that the informal feedback had been received. Formal feedback would be sought and provided to the Committee.

Closing remarks

The Chairperson said it was the last Committee meeting and thanked the Members for their commitment. The four main institutions that the Committee was responsible for had been dealt with well, despite the challenges. The Chairperson thanked the Committee staff members who had assisted the Committee over the past five years.

Ms Molebatsi thanked the Chairperson for chairing and wished the Members luck.

Mr Mhlongo thanked the Chairperson for his leadership. His tolerance and leadership had steered the Committee in the right direction. He wished the new Committee all the best.

Mr Mbhele echoed the sentiment on the work of the support staff and the Chairperson. The Committee had operated as a united front across party lines and through periods of disagreement. It was hoped that the next Committee could continue the work the Committee had done.

Mr Ramatlakane thanked the Chairperson for tolerating all Members. The staff and Committee Members were also thanked. Disagreements had been issue-based, rather than using personal attacks, and that had displayed the maturity of the Members.

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: