Government plans to intensify law enforcement operations during Alert Level 1 of the lockdown. Police Minister Bheki Cele and the South African Police Service management briefed the media in Pretoria on law enforcement during Level 1.

Cele says more than 300 000 people have been arrested and charged for violating lockdown regulations countrywide since the lockdown started in March.

“Three hundred and ten thousand four hundred and ninety (310 490)  people have been arrested and charged with contravention of the Disaster Management Act. These violations range from transport and business and cross border related offences. The Western Cape recorded the most arrests with 72 137 followed by Gauteng with 59 000 arrests.”

The men and women in blue have a tougher task ahead as the lockdown regulations are eased.  Cele issued a stern warning to restaurant and liquor outlet owners and managers who flout the lockdown curfews, putting profit before life.

“I want to remind all the business owners who insist on flouting the rules, the long arm of the law will catch up with you and you will also lose your operating license.”

GBV

Cele also highlighted that fighting the gender-based violence crises in the country remains a priority and 30 GBV hotspots have been identified countrywide.

Provinces are also encouraged to identify local GBV hotspots.

“In our efforts to drill down to community and district level in our response to GBV, government has pinned down 30 GBV hotspots. The list was compiled based on nine key variables, including the number of cases reported to the SAPS during the 2019/2020 financial year.”

Kidnapping and human trafficking

He also addressed concerns by members of the public over his lack of willingness to tackle kidnapping and human trafficking. While Cele has acknowledged that human trafficking is a concern, he says most of the information circulating on social media is fake news.

“Many people came and they gave the addresses of the places where they say this is happening. Those have been checked. One place that was checked having been given as the centre of kidnapping was found to be the police barracks. Police live there. The other one was found to be a financial institution where people are doing legitimate business. So it tells you that there are opportunists that they’ll always be there to make sure that they exploit the genuine fears of the public.”

Meanwhile, more than 16 000  police officers are infected with COVID-19, 250 police members have died of COVID-19 related conditions.

Minister Bheki Cele briefs the media on Alert Level 1 regulations: 

Authors Patricia Visagie and Phumzile Mlangeni