Members of the SANDF arrive in Mossel Bay where they have been deployed to help enforce lockdown regulations. Picture: David Kamfer
Members of the SANDF arrive in Mossel Bay where they have been deployed to help enforce lockdown regulations. Picture: David Kamfer

George bathers caught violating lockdown curbs

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Some George residents were caught in action breaching the Disaster Management Act, despite the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members.

A large group of bathers was swimming in the Blou Dam in the Outeniqua Mountains, George, while others camped between the trees.

In a video, a police officer used a loudspeaker to address the crowd and warned he would issue fines and arrest them if they failed to get out of the water before ordering those sitting in camp chairs between trees to pack up and leave.

The officer read the Disaster Management Act, informing the crowd the Garden Route was a hotspot for Covid-19, which meant people could not swim in beaches, rivers or dams.

Southern Cape spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie did not say if further action was taken against the crowd.

George and other areas in the Southern Cape were declared Covid-19 hotspots due to a spike in infections. Various restrictions were placed, even ahead of alert Level 3 regulations.

The infection rate resulted in local government calling for more boots on the ground as there was a shortage of staff in both the police force and municipal law enforcement agencies.

Last week, two surfers from the UK were arrested at Langebaan beach while Police Minister Bheki Cele, together with police management, were conducting spot checks.

The Minister confirmed soldiers would be deployed to help maintain compliance with the Disaster Management Act.

He said more than 300 police officers had contracted Covid-19 and 800 were in isolation in the Garden Route.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said since last Tuesday, soldiers have been supporting police in the Cape Town metropole with crime prevention duties at identified hotspots.

“The areas the deployments already covered include Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Delft, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain, Lentegeur, Samora Machel and Phillipi East.”

Meanwhile, police in Sebokeng, Sedibeng District, arrested three suspects - two male church leaders aged 47 and 69 and a 62-year-old woman - for allegedly contravening the Covid-19 Disaster Management Act, adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations. The woman faces an additional charge of public violence.

“The members responded to reports of an illegal gathering at a church in Sebokeng Zone 7, and on arrival, ordered the group of about 250 congregants to disperse. The group is reported to have defied police orders to disperse and the situation allegedly turned violent when the congregants started throwing chairs at the members, whereafter police responded with rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the group,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

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Cape Times

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