Community service centres at the Philippi East and Cape Town Central police stations were relocated after officers tested positive. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Community service centres at the Philippi East and Cape Town Central police stations were relocated after officers tested positive. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Police unions alarmed by over 50 cops testing positive in Western Cape

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Apr 28, 2020

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Cape Town – Police unions have raised the alarm on the escalating risk of police officers contracting Covid-19, saying more than 50 members have tested positive in the province.

At the weekend, community service centres (CSC) at the Philippi East and Cape Town Central police stations were relocated after officers tested positive. On Monday, the Lentegeur police station was shut down after a member contracted the virus.

Philippi East police station CSC, which recorded seven cases, was moved to Vuyiseka High School, while Cape Town Central CSC was moved to the Cape Town cluster offices at the back of the station.

Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said a decontamination process has been undertaken at community services centres of police stations, in line with Covid-19 48-hour lockdown protocols.

“This is to ensure service delivery continues unhindered. SAPS officials who have been in contact with the infected members are undergoing the necessary screening/testing and are placed in quarantine.

"Be advised that we will not be giving figures about employees who have tested positive for the virus, as tests are conducted by an external service provider,” said Potelwa.

SA Police and Allied Workers Union president Bonga Makuliwe said the numbers were expected to increase on a daily basis, because of a shortage of personal protective equipment in police stations.

“We were reliably informed that the total of infected SAPS members in the Western Cape alone is

about 54 members, but five of the 15 police stations are waiting for the results.

“We were further reliably informed that two police stations in KZN were also having members testing positive for Covid-19,” said Makuliwe.

“Our members never received proper training of Covid-19. Lack of PPEs or unavailability is becoming the main contributing factor to increase contamination of SAPS employees,” said Makuliwe.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said they were concerned about the number of infections reported, despite the adopted safety measures put in place.

“There should be more stringent measures in ensuring that screening processes are increased among them due to their proximity to those likely infected, and upon doing so, ensure that those infected are immediately isolated from their colleagues and affected facilities immediately, and regularly sanitised,” Mamabolo said.

Cape Times

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