STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY, ALDERMAN JP SMITH

In order to be able to give effective enforcement of the Disaster Management Act regulations pertaining to COVID-19, or the lockdown regulations as people are referring to them as, the City is calling on the national government to refine the regulations to make implementation easier for the police and military.  Currently, any person found on the street may plausibly claim to be out for the purposes of shopping for food.  It is impossible for the police, whether SAPS, SANDF, Metro Police or Law Enforcement, to truthfully determine whether a person is entitled to be on the street or not.

The City is therefore calling for the national government to amend the regulations to limit the hours of shopping at shopping malls as well as spaza and tuck shops to the hours of 9 am to 1 pm daily as everybody will have had the chance to undertake their necessary shopping once the grant recipients have drawn their grant payments.  We also call on them to limit the number of people who may be out to shop on any day to specific surnames who may be out on any given day or some other provision in the regulations to make regulations more helpful for the police to be able to improve the situation on the streets.

We are also calling for the national government to reconsider their stance on the deployment of the neighbourhood watches.  There are thousands of well-trained neighbourhood watches in Cape Town who would be able to continue doing the good work they do every day in fighting crime, as we have already seen criminals changing their modus operandi to take advantage of the lockdown.  These NHWs would also be able to assist as credible messengers to encourage communities to comply with the regulations and stay indoors – something it has become clear that we do not have nearly enough enforcement resources to achieve without the help of civil society.  The deployment could be limited to just the NHWs who have received accreditation from the Provincial Department of Community Safety and who we know are trained and vetted.

It is important at this stage to thank the residents and visitors across Cape Town who have been complying with the regulations and have been confining themselves to their homes.  I have been told by some residents that they are irritated that they have to stay at home while they see other people having contempt for the lockdown regulations on television.  I want to say to them that they must please continue to be part of the solution and continue to prioritise their own safety and that of their community, which then allows us to concentrate our limited enforcement resources on improving compliance in communities where people are placing themselves and others at risk.

Remember that this is not about obeying a law – this is about your own safety and doing what is right for you and your family and your community.  Some of the people now on the street you may again see on television in some weeks’ time on the beds of field hospitals.  Please set the example and stay indoors and avoid any non-essential activities outside.

The City’s enforcement services are working in support of the South African Police Service in enforcing the national lockdown regulations. 

Officers are working on a shift basis, assisting with roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints, as well as doing roving patrols in areas to ensure public compliance. 

Metro Police officers made 21 arrests during the last week; charges included driving under the influence of alcohol, domestic violence, possession of drugs and dangerous weapons and contravention of the Disaster Management act. 

On Sunday 29 March 202, officers responded to a business robbery in the Central Business District. On arrival at the scene, they spotted a trolley load of goods fitting the description of the stolen goods parked next to a structure. A 40-year-old suspect was taken into custody on a charge of possession of stolen goods, with an added charge in terms of the Disaster Management Act. 

On Saturday 28 March 2020, Metro Police officers stopped a taxi in Bosmansdam Road and arrested the taxi driver and a passenger for contravention of section 11B that restricts movement.  

Officers arrested a further four suspects for contravening the Disaster Management Act at a roadblock in Delft and Khayelitsha. Two of the four were also charged with drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving and failing to comply with a lawful instruction.

On Friday 27 March 2020; Metro Police members arrested a suspect at a vehicle checkpoint along Stellenbosch Arterial for drunken driving, providing false information, and contravention of section 11B that restricts movement – COVID-19. It was later found that the 44-year-old suspect provided false information while being arrested and did not have a permit to be on the road. The suspect age 44 was detained in Mfuleni SAPS.

In Milnerton, officers arrested two suspects for contravention of the Disaster Management Act at a vehicle checkpoint on the N7. During the arrests, SAPS confiscated 529 units of beers.

Cape Town Traffic Officers arrested two suspects, impounded 45 vehicles and issued 1 161 fines during operations around the metropole. 

On Friday 27 March 2020, officers stopped a taxi with 18 passengers in Brackenfell for being overloaded. The driver ran away, but he was apprehended after a short chased and arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act.

The following day, during a joint operation on the N1, a bus was stopped along Frans Conradie Drive, carrying eight passengers. It emerged that the bus had been travelling from Limpopo and the vehicle was impounded for operating contrary to permit conditions. 

The City’s Law Enforcement Department made 11 arrests and issued 1 281 fines.

It is important that the public abides by the lockdown regulations and only leave their homes when they absolutely have to. Ultimately, we are trying to prevent the mass transmission of an unprecedented health risk, but there appears to be a lack of appreciation for this fact. People who still think this is a joke need to do some serious introspection, because our collective actions today will determine the impact of the virus on our country tomorrow and beyond.

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