Crackdown on lockdown lawbreakers continues, Western Cape confirms 65 arrests

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Western Cape authorities have confirmed 65 cases regarding people who contravened lockdown regulations in the province since Friday.

Provincial minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz says they’re still waiting for the overnight figures. He says residents in some areas like Mitchell’s Plain and Delft, just don’t get that this is a life-threatening situation we are in.

“In the Town Centre area this morning there were more than 200 people queuing at the supermarket. Now, the fact that there was no social distancing between people, really, really exposed people to very serious danger.”

“And this virus is not playing and not making jokes. You know there was in Delft a church service this morning? I cannot believe it! And my personal view is that those people responsible for it should be arrested. You know, they should be arrested,” adds Fritz.

Arrests in KZN

Three people have been arrested at a roadblock in Umlazi, south of Durban, bring the number of arrests in the province for the contravention of the national lockdown regulations to at least 10.

The three had been driving without permits or letters that would allow them to be on the roads.

Twelve others have been issued with fines for other traffic offences.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has visited the roadblock to check if people were adhering to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for people to stay at home to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Three arrests have been made here and three traffic offenses have been issued. And we believe that the majority of people have listened and adhered to the call of the President. But there are those who you will see that they are not taking it seriously like the one that was driving with three people and the one who was driving with two kids, to them is like a holiday and they are going to fetch their medication and we are not going to allow such thing,” he says.

Zikalala has also confirmed that negotiations between national taxi organisation, SANTACO, and the provincial government are continuing following the council’s permanent withdrawal of taxis.

“This morning SANTACO in the province was meeting and we will be interacting with them this afternoon and we will ensure that essential workers are supported with transport from their homes and to work. We will engage with SANTACO and if then come to the push, we will alternative transport but we believe we will find a solution.”

In the video below, SANTACO expresses misgivings about some of the regulations regarding public transport:

The organisation was also angered by the arrest of two taxi drivers in Pretoria on Friday. The two operators were arrested after 20:00 for allegedly failing to adhere to the new regulations that only allow taxis to operate between five and 9 o’clock in the morning and from four to eight o’clock in the evening as a measure to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.

SANTACO’s McDonald Makata says the drivers left Johannesburg for Pretoria within the stipulated time. He says association has halted its operations.

“As the taxi industry in Tshwane we have now decided to seize operation. It is a pity that our commuters are going thorough this but it affects us negatively as well. The leadership decided that No, it is not helping. They left the rank that side at 19:20 which was still within the stipulated time but as they arrived in Pretoria it was after eight. The other wan was 20:25 the other one was ten past eight,” says Makata.

Bus impounded 

The North West Health Department has intercepted and impounded a  Limpopo bound bus transporting Cape Peninsula University Students.

There were 17 students and two drivers on board. The students were destined for  Mahikeng, Rustenburg, Zeerust and Polokwane.

Others had already been dropped off in the Northern Cape. A concerned parent Themba Damaniti alerted North West health authorities about the bus, because Cape Town already has one coronavirus death and the second-highest number of infections in the country after Gauteng.

“My three younger brothers are currently attending the university. They have been instructed to go home and now I had to also take precautionary measures that is why I ended up reporting the matter to the department of health and the disaster team of Ngaka-Modiri-Molema for intervention to check if the studenty are well,” Damaniti told SABC News.

The remaining students will be transported to their destinations by the North West Health Department. Police are questioning the two drivers.

MEC for Health Department in the North West Madoda Samabatha explains: “The bus has gone to the police for formal statements and decisions by the police but what we have enforced is that the bus can no longer proceed to Polokwane. The police must decide independently of kids and the kids that are going to go to Polokwane. As the provincial department of health in the North West, we have already spoken. Myself and the MEC of Health in Limpopo to make arrangements for those kids of Limpopo to be transported,” Samabatha.

All the students were screened and cleared of any coronavirus symptoms. The department has started tracing those who have already been dropped off, along the way in the Northern Cape also to be screened.

In the video below, the police are making arrests of lockdown lawbreakers:

Lockdown arrests

On Friday night, Police Minister Bheki Cele put the number of arrests since South Africa began its lockdown on Thursday midnight to 55.

He says just under 24 000 members have been deployed where the SAPS is complemented by the SANDF deployment, respective Metro Police Departments and other law enforcement officers. In a statement the Minister confirmed that a total of 172 roadblocks had been mounted on the main routes countrywide, covering parallel routes to deal with those motorists who attempted to dodge the main roadblocks.

In addition to the roadblocks, police saturated hot spot areas such as Soshanguve, in Pretoria, where police ensured that known liquor outlets were shut and no selling and consumption were taking place.

In the video below, Limpopo Health MEC Dr. Phophi Ramathuba is addressing the issue of those who disobey:

Acknowledging the challenges that came with the first day of the lockdown, Minister Cele confirmed that talks were underway between the Departments of Police, Trade and Industry, and Transport to address issues experienced in some areas with long queues at shops, where people were not observing social distancing rules nor hygiene protocols. There will be continuous assessment of the implementation of the lockdown and measures will be enhanced where the need arises.

The Minister issued a stern warning to those who lie to the police and use the queues at shops and pharmacies as an opportunity to go out for reasons other than acquiring essential goods and/or services.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Police has commended the latest arrest on Friday evening 27 March 2020 just after 23h30, of a 36-yea- old male from Kanana, in Tshwane North, who has been taken into police custody for contravention of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

In this video below, SAPS and SANDF are in full force in implementing the national lockdown: