Some 8.4 million citizens are eligible to vote in the referendum on a new constitution for Mali

Deputy National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili warned communities against vandalizing, defacing and removing posters of political parties ahead of the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, scheduled for May 29.

During a media briefing on Sunday, Mosikili said that "anyone found to be tampering with these posters or vandalizing them will be arrested," adding that such cases have been reported and arrests have been made, SA News reported.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF), State Security Agency (SSA) and the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) also warned the communities that the constitution of South Africa protects everyone's right to make political choices.

Aside from this, NATJOINTS also noted that the spread of fake news is another big issue, especially on social media platforms.

Mosikili noted that the department strongly condemns the spreading of fake news, unverified information, rumors or threats as it creates confusion and panic in society. She stressed that in some incidences, there is a possibility of violence too.

She warned that anyone found sharing inflammatory messages and inciting violence will be held accountable, urging South Africans to report any such incidents to ensure that law enforcement deals with such issues.

The lieutenant general further said that political leaders are responsible for the way common people are communicating on social media platforms, adding that the department is noticing "an increase in the number of service delivery-related protests."

To keep the situation under control, there has been an 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," she added.

According to Mosikili, every law enforcement officer has been given a responsibility and obligation to work professionally, within the confines of the laws of the country.

South Africans are all set to vote this month to choose their leaders from the seventh election in the country since the end of the apartheid era in 1994. The upcoming elections feature 70 political parties and 11 independent candidates approved by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).