Western Cape police have arrested several suspects following incidents of looting, burglaries and public violence in Athlone, Manenberg and Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town.
Shops and supermarkets were looted allegedly due to the non-delivery of food parcels during the lockdown.
Police say in one of the incidents, 16 suspects stormed a Shoprite store in Athlone threatened cashiers and took cash and groceries.
Athlone police responded, arresting four suspects aged between 21 and 24 and some of the stolen items were recovered. Three other suspects were arrested in Mitchell’s Plain.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa says SAPS management has reinforced deployments in several townships.
Potelwa says, “All arrested suspects are expected to appear in court soon. Western Cape SAPS management has cautioned communities against criminal conduct warning that police will not hesitate to take action against those breaking the law.”
Food parcels not for those who are politically connected: Makhura
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says food parcels will only be given to those who need them most and not those who are politically connected. He was speaking at the launch of a COVID- 19 food bank in Ekurhuleni on Gauteng’s Eastrand.
The food bank is one of several in the province which have been opened to collect food donations for distribution to the poor through a ward-based system.
Makhura says they will ensure the food reaches the needy. He says that over 3 million people in Gauteng are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to last them for a week.
Makhura says those who qualify for food parcels will be identified through the municipality’s list of indigent families but this too will need to be scrutinized by social workers to ensure that deserving families get food.
Families, whose children already get food as part of the school nutrition programme, will automatically qualify for food assistance.
Makhura says there are five distribution points across Gauteng providing thousands of households with food each day.
So far, 72 000 people have been assisted since the start of the lockdown three weeks ago.
#COVID19 | Premier @David_Makhura joined the executive mayor of @City_Ekurhuleni, @mzwandileMasina at the opening of the City’s Central Food Bank at the Ekurhuleni Fresh Food Market, in Springs. Thank you to all donors who continue to play a part in the fight against COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/WOTGyUxlP6
— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) April 14, 2020
Today I’m visiting food banks across the province to ensure a fair process of food distribution. The system must be about reaching the 20% of Gauteng residents who are food insecure. There should be no patronage networks and no political interference in all processes. #COVID19SA pic.twitter.com/teNTRsmNkA
— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) April 14, 2020
Challenges in distributing food parcels
On Monday, Gauteng Social Development Departmental Head Thembeni Mhlongo urged the Eersterust community in Pretoria to exercise patience regarding the delivery of food parcels.
Destitute families in the community said despite government’s promises they have not received any food parcels.
The families say since they were prohibited from doing temporary work under lockdown, they have been struggling.
Mhlongo says her department’s teams will soon deliver food parcels to residents of Eersterust.
“Our team is working. It’s just that there are some people who want us to deliver for a large group of people and that is in contravention of the lockdown regulations. We cannot do that. What we do is to deliver at the doorstep of beneficiaries. “
Correctional Services Department coronavirus cases increase to 78
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases at the Correctional Services Department has increased to 78. The new cases mostly come from the East London Correctional Centre and include 53 inmates and 25 officials.
On Monday, the Port-Elizabeth-based St Albans Correctional Centre and the department’s head offices in Pretoria each registered one positive case of the virus.
All the figures are part of the 78. The department’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo has appealed to all those who have been in contact with people who have tested positive for the virus to inform the department.
“As the department, we have now gone through the second layer of disaster management recovery strategy, which is containment and treatment in order to ensure that we disinfect the East London Correctional Facility and that we do more screening. In terms of officials, their movements and their activities that they attend to, we will continue to work closer with other stakeholders in order to ensure that any further spread of the virus is curbed.”
The Eastern Cape has 174 coronavirus cases.
Earlier, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 2 415 up from Monday’s 2 272.
He made the announcement at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg where China donated personal protective equipment to South Africa.
Gauteng has 909 cases, followed by Western Cape with 643 cases.
South Africa has so far conducted more than 87 000 coronavirus tests.
“We believe we are now seeing a lot more of the testing that is coming from the public sector, ” said Mkhize.