As the country enters the second week of the national lockdown, law enforcement officials have warned that they will intensify their operations to ensure that people adhere to the regulations.
The warning comes as communities continue to disobey COVID-19 regulations. From taxi drivers trying to stop essential services workers from going to work, to motorists being on the road despite not having the necessary documents proving they are performing an essential service.
Some communities have bizarrely taken the initiative of enforcing lockdown regulations themselves.
Officers from the Joburg Metro Police Department, the SAPS and the Gauteng Traffic Police conducted a massive roadblock next to the Grasmere toll plaza on the N1 on Sunday, stopping and searching motorists to ensure that those on the road have the necessary permits that allow them to be on the road during the lockdown.
Johannesburg Metro Police Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar says more than 30 people in the city have been arrested during roadblocks since the start of the lockdown.
“We are hearing a lot of excuses. Some are saying they have to take washing to their granny, others are saying they have to take someone who needs to be somewhere. Others are saying they have to travel to another point for reasons that really are trivial. So, it is people who were on the road really taking a chance,” says Minnaar.
In the video below, a roadblock is held in the N1 highway:
Not only are people not adhering to lockdown regulations, others are taking the law into their hands to enforce them or cause disruptions.
In the past week, taxi operators in the Eastern Cape tried to stop motor vehicles transporting essential service workers to work.
In Mpumalanga and Gauteng, small groups of people stormed local supermarkets and disrupted services demanding that the store managers furnishes all employees with gloves and masks.
By the time police arrived on the scene in Mpumalanga, the group had already left.
However, one person was arrested for the incident in Gauteng.
“Any person caught leaving their homes and trying to enforce or trying to take the law into their own hands, will be arrested in terms of the regulations of the Disaster Management Act because we have already arrested one person in Gauteng, while he was threatening a supermarket manager. So, we are calling upon people to please co-operate with authorities and to take this virus seriously,” says National Police Spokesperson Vish Naidoo.
About 17 000 people have been arrested since the beginning of the 21 days national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The deadly virus, which was first discovered in China in December 2019, has claimed the lives of nine South Africans and at least 40 000 people globally.
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