While it is up to everyone in South Africa to help ensure that the national lockdown flattens the curve, the police and the SANDF will remain vigilant and act swiftly against those who think they are above the law.
At midnight on Thursday, 26 March, the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster intensified measures to ensure that citizens comply with the regulations of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police would work with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to enforce compliance.
In accordance with Annexure D of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations – which lists prohibited places – police and members of the SANDF increased visibility and conducted integrated foot patrols, roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints.
“Metro Police departments as well as other law enforcement agencies formed part of these joint operations that will be conducted for the duration of the lockdown,” the Minister said.
Roadblocks were conducted at sector policing level within communities and residential areas on provincial and national roads. This was done to ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to the minimum, with the exception of the transportation of essential goods and/or services, which include fire and medical emergency services,” the minister added.
At these roadblocks, motorists – especially essential services workers who cross provincial borders – will be subjected to screening by officials from the Department of Health, as outlined in the regulations.
What to do
According to Minister Cele, the simplest and best way to combat the spread of COVID-19 is to adhere to the call by the President and stay at home.
When the President declared the lockdown, he made exceptions for essential goods and services. This means the only time you should be outside of your home is to acquire or provide essential services, such as:
- medical attention (including mental health), laboratory and other medical services,
- disaster management, fire prevention, firefighting and emergency services,
- food or other goods and services as listed in Annexure B of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations,
- financial services necessary to maintain the functioning of banking and payments, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and similar exchanges, as well as insurance services,
- production and sale of ‘essential goods’,
- electricity, water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance.
A detailed list is available on www.gov.za
The Minister said only those goods and services that appear in the annexure will be allowed.
“Anything outside of these lists will not be entertained,” Minister Cele said.
What not to do
- There shall be no gatherings other than for a funeral and the number of mourners will be restricted to 50. Night vigils are prohibited.
- The selling of liquor is strictly prohibited. This is also applicable to supermarkets with liquor licences. No liquor will be sold anywhere by anyone during the 21-day period of the lockdown.
- The movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations. This means you cannot have alcohol on your person or in your vehicle.
“Anyone found to be in contravention of the regulations shall be found guilty and on conviction, will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Minister Cele said all forms of crime must be reported to 10111, which will remain fully functional during the lockdown period. The Crime Stop number (0860 010 111) is also functional and can be used to give anonymous tip-offs on suspected criminal activities.
“I warn, failure to respect and obey the laws this time around could drive us straight into a state of emergency. The situation we find ourselves in demands that we all be responsible and take the necessary precautions,” he said.