Police minister Bheki Cele is in KZN this week, ensuring that people are adhering to lockdown rules.
Picture: SAPS Twitter
Police minister Bheki Cele is in KZN this week, ensuring that people are adhering to lockdown rules. Picture: SAPS Twitter

Durban, Pmb hot spots for Covid-19 violations

By Thami Magubane and Kailene Pillay Time of article published May 12, 2020

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala is determined to crack down on residents and businesses in the province who continue to violate the lockdown regulations by “moving around as they please”.

He warned that Police Minister Bheki Cele’s visit to KZN this week was no run-of-the-mill exercise.

“It should serve as a stern warning that all eyes are on KwaZulu-Natal. The defiant attitude of the people in KZN will result in harsher punishment and stricter rules,” said Zikalala.

Provincial spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said a number of areas in the province had been flagged as hot spots for rule-breakers, with Durban and Pietermaritzburg being at the top of the list.

“We have intensified monitoring and lockdown operations in these hot spots, and law-enforcement officers will now be uncompromising in their stance.

“People have been taking advantage of the window period when grants were being paid out, and used that as an opportunity to move about freely,” said Mabaso.

On Monday, Cele visited Pietermaritzburg and noted with concern that residents were failing to comply with the basics of the lockdown regulations, including wearing a mask or physical distancing.

He visited the Edendale and KwaMabulala malls, where several shoppers were warned about not wearing masks.

The number of positive Covid-19 cases in the uMgungundlovu District has doubled from 30 to more than 60 in the past few weeks.

Cele said he was extremely concerned about the public’s attitude.

“We visited the township close to Minister Blade Nzimande’s home and what we found there was quite shocking. People are just not complying.

“Physical distancing, masks and sanitisers are things that they have never heard of,” he said.

He said people should stop looking at these regulations as rules, but rather see them as guides to keep them and their families safe.

“This situation is going to get much worse. People need to listen and also watch what is happening in other countries, like the US,” he said.

He added that since the country moved to a Level 4 lockdown, crime was on the rise.

Since the lockdown started, about 18 000 people have been arrested for various violations and about 1 600 of them are from Pietermaritzburg.

“It seems that people think that Level 4 is us opening up everything. Under Level 5, 10 people were arrested for alcohol-related offences, but at Level 4, 60 people have been arrested for dispensing and selling of alcohol,” he said.

Speaking on when alcohol would be allowed to be sold, Cele said there were discussions with the National Command Council and they would be guided by scientific data. No date was on the cards as yet, he said.

He said he was happy with the reduction in violent crimes, which had been brought about by the absence of alcohol.

“Since I’ve been here (Pietermaritzburg), there have been quite loud calls for the liquor outlets to be reopened. People here love to drink.”

Cele said that even after the end of the lockdown they would like to see changes in the sale of alcohol.

“As the SAPS, we would like to propose that there is one National Liquor Act. At present, all provinces have different acts.

“You find that in some provinces taverns close at 2am and others at 10pm. We would like to have one rule nationally,” he said.

The Mercury

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