Communities warned against vandalising election posters and fake news

20 May 2024 | SANews

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has cautioned communities against vandalising, defacing and removing posters of political parties ahead of the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

“Anyone found to be tampering with these posters or vandalizing them will be arrested. Such cases have been reported and arrests have been made,” Deputy National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said on Sunday in Pretoria during a media briefing.

Led by the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the State Security Agency (SSA), the NATJOINTS reminded communities that the Constitution protects citizens’ rights to make political choices.

These rights, includes the right to participate in the activities of, or recruit members for a political party and to campaign for a political party or cause.

In addition, the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 prohibits the unlawful removal and defacing of posters published by a registered party.

On 29 May 2024, South Africans will once again get an opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the 2024 National and Provincial elections, which marks the country’s seventh democratic elections.

Fake news

The NATJOINTS has urged members of the public to fact-check information first before sharing it on social media platforms.

“One of our biggest threats at the moment is fake news. We strongly condemn the spreading of fake news, unverified information, rumours or threats as this seeks to cause panic and confusion, and in some instances incite possible violence.

“Those who are found to be sharing inflammatory messages and inciting violence will be charged accordingly. We, therefore, urge prompt reporting of these incidents to ensure that law enforcement deals with such issues,” Mosikili said.

She called on political leaders to be responsible in the manner in which they communicate on public platforms.

“We have noted an increase in the number of service delivery related protests. To mitigate this, increased police visibility through the deployment of the public order policing unit has been made to potentially volatile areas to address large crowds.

“We will continue to work closely with key role players to monitor developments and attend to them. Law enforcement agencies are on the ground and will continue to apply fundamental policing principles, guided by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Every law enforcement officer has a responsibility and an obligation to execute their mandate, professionally, impartially and with integrity, and to do so within the confines of the laws of the country,” the Deputy National Commissioner said.

The NATJOINTS said measures that have been put in place to ensure that the country’s upcoming general elections proceed without any incidents of crime and disruptions.

“Having conducted a national security assessment with key role players in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, we are satisfied with the operational plan that is currently being implemented, and can assure South Africans that a conducive environment for a peaceful election has been prepared.

“While measures have been put in place, the ultimate responsibility of a safe and secure election lies with each one of us. It is a partnership that is required to create harmony, respect for self and others even as we make our way to the polls and back home,” Mosikili said.

Image Credit: SABC


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