JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed that 10,000 soldiers will be deployed across the country to help law enforcement officials safeguard the upcoming local government elections.
The troops will be deployed from Saturday, when the special voting process opens, until next Wednesday.
At least 300 areas in provinces including Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have been classified as potential hotspots.
SANDF spokesperson Mafi Mgobozi: “The South African National Defence Force will deploy up to 10,000 troops during the elections. These troops will be deployed in various places.”
Meanwhile, just days ahead of the local government elections, Eskom’s battle to keep the lights on appears to have affected potential voters with some now threatening not to cast their ballots.
Homes, offices and businesses are expected to endure a week of daily power cuts after the utility ramped up load shedding to stage 4 in order to prevent a total collapse of the overstretched electricity grid.
The power utility was already implementing stage 2 power cuts.
The crisis at the utility poses a huge threat to the economy and the electorate.
Electricity has become one of the biggest issues in the campaign for 1 November elections and it’s no wonder.
Just days before the country heads to the polls, South Africans have been plunged into darkness again.
With annoying frequency, some residents said failure to keep the lights on would likely affect how they voted come Monday.
“Most definitely, I know it will affect the voting,” one resident said. While another said: “I think it reaffirms that the ANC has to go.”
The power utility has noted that it expects two generating units to return to service on Wednesday and for Koeberg Unit 1 to return to service by Friday to ensure you don’t cast your vote potentially by candlelight.