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Minister Cele unpacks measures by the police to enforce the Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown

25 Mar 2020

Minister of Police unpacks measures by the police to enforce the national lockdown

Honourable Ministers
Deputy Ministers
DG’s, Senior Officers from the JCPS and other Government Departments
Members of the Media
Fellow South Africans

Good Day, Sanibonani, Dumelang

Annexure D (Regulations) – List of prohibited places

Following the declaration of a nationwide lockdown by the President this past Monday, we have sat as the JCPS Cluster and the South African Police Service, to outline and intensify the measures we would be implementing to make sure that the intentions of this lockdown are realised.

With the subsequent deployment of the SANDF, we will be increasing visibility and conduct integrated foot patrols, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints as of 23h59 on Thursday evening 26 March 2020. Metro Police Departments as well as other Law Enforcement Agencies will form part of these joint operations that will be conducted for the duration of the lockdown. Operations, especially roadblocks will be conducted at sector policing level within communities and residential areas, on provincial and national roads. This will ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to the minimum, with the exception of the transportation of essential good and/or services which include fire and medical emergency services.

At these roadblocks particularly on provincial and national roads, motorists, especially essential service workers that cross provincial borders, will be subjected to screening by officials from the Department of Health.

In terms of the new regulations that have just been gazetted, Police will be responsible to ensure the restriction of movement of persons and goods. Therefore, there shall be, absolutely no gatherings other than for a funeral, where the number of mourners will be restricted to 50. Still on funerals, we need to emphasise that even night vigils will be prohibited.

Last weekend with the previous COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations, we were inundated with requests for clarity and a lot of other questions around the selling and consumption of liquor. This time around with the National Lockdown, the selling of liquor is strictly prohibited. This is applicable to also those supermarkets with liquor licences. No liquor will be sold anywhere by anyone during the 21-day period of the lockdown.

Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

The President in declaring the lockdown, made exception to essential goods and services. A detailed list clarifying what these are, is attached as one of the Annexures in the Regulations. Only those goods and services that appear on these Annexures will be allowed. Anything outside of these lists will not be entertained.

Therefore, 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.

We have noted the fear and the possibility of the escalation of gender based violence that could come as a result of liquor now being consumed at home. As an extra measure, we have plans in place to beef up our FCS Units (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) to deal with this threat. The number 0800 150 150 can be used to report incidents of gender based violence for urgent response.

Meanwhile, all forms of crime must be reported. Our 10111 will remain fully functional during the lockdown period. The Crime Stop number is also functional and can be used to give anonymous tip offs on suspected criminal activities. Also, police and the SANDF will be visible in the streets conducting foot patrols.

Ladies and gentlemen, the simplest and best way to combat the spread of the Corona Virus, is to adhere to the call by the President and STAY HOME. The only time you should be outside of your home should be to acquire essential services such as medical attention, food, or other goods and services as listed in the Annexure to the Regulations.

Cooperation from the public is the best way to win this battle. I must appreciate the calls and tip-offs we got last weekend reporting people who were ignoring the Disaster Management Regulations. In fact, it is exactly that stubborn behaviour that has now caused us a national lockdown.

Again 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.

Let us unite against the virus. Remember, our aim is to arrest the virus not to arrest people.