The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSIR) says it will remain fully operational and ready to respond to emergencies during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.

All beaches have been closed ahead of the lockdown.

The NSRI, a non-profit organisation, is appealing to the public for donations to help them continue to save lives.

NSRI spokesperson, Craig Lambinon says, “All precautions and protocols as directed by the Department of Health are being adhered to during rescue operations. This includes operations involving patient evacuations off ships. We appeal to everyone to visit our website and to make a donation, however small, to keep us afloat.”

Ministers stress on stringent measures during lockdown

Speaking at a security cluster briefing on the stringent measures that will come into effect during the lockdown period, ministers stressed the seriousness of the situation. They warned that people who don’t comply will face the full might of the law.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says alcohol consumption in public areas and the sale of alcohol during the 21-day national lockdown is prohibited.

Cele was briefing media in Pretoria about measures that his department will be taking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“All consumption premises where liquor is sold. This time you are not buying liquor between 9 and 6. All consumption premises including bottle stores where liquor is sold … when you go to these supermarkets there are potions that sell liquor, they shall not. If we find liquor in your boot, that’s crime. For 21 days, please stay sober.”

 

Deployment of SANDF members 

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has slammed what she calls the spreading of fake news on social media relating to the deployment of SANDF members across the country. Mapisa-Nqakula has clarified that no soldiers have been deployed yet and any visuals on social media of information that states otherwise are fake news.

“There is no deployment of soldiers currently in the streets of SA. You may have seen them moving in transit, you have not seen soldiers patrolling, manning roadblocks because in the first instance we are protecting South Africans against a virus. Our numbers have escalated and therefore we now have to come and support the police in enforcing the law by ensuring that everybody remains behind doors.”

Home Affairs to provide essential services

Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi announced that Home Affairs will only provide essential services such as issuing death certificates and temporary IDs. He says there will be no issuing of other documents including new marriage certificates, new births certificates, and passports.

Motsoaledi says only goods and no people will be allowed to move through the country’s borders during the lockdown period. He adds that only 18 border posts will remain open from Thursday night to allow for the transportation of goods. Motsoaledi also announced that people who have circulated false news about the pandemic will be charged.

“I want to state here that this fake news tends to be more dangerous sometimes as much as the virus itself because it worries people. Because of this and because we are on possession of the original source of the pictures I’ve instructed my officials to go an lay a charge with the police. This is the first test case of whether fake news can be charged or not. We are going to charge these ones and we have identified at least 3 of them.”

Cases of COVID-19 at correctional centres

Speaking at the same briefing, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says there have been 16 suspected coronavirus cases among officials at correctional centres across the country. He says 11 of the officials have tested negative for the virus and results for the remaining five are pending.

“There have been processes of sanitisation; deep cleaning (at) some of the correctional centres, which are still continuing, as we speak. There have been suspected cases from our officials about 16 officials. 11 of them have been cleared from the processes of testing. We are still awaiting results for the five officials.”