KZN Safety MEC issues strong warning to residents hoping to flout lockdown rules
Durban - Those who attempt to loiter the streets during the 21-day lockdown will be dealt with. Those who attempt to serve or smuggle alcohol during the 21-day lockdown will be dealt with. This was the warning from KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli.
He was speaking during a briefing on the province's state of readiness for the lockdown which comes into effect from midnight on Thursday.
Ntuli said their message to communities during this time, is "Stay at home."
On Thursday, the MEC met with members of the Covid-19 Provincial Joint Operational Centre where they discussed their plan to ensure that the lockdown restrictions were adhered to.
"I am satisfied with the level of readiness and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the commanders of all agencies. This spirit, with no doubt has cascaded to their members on the ground who will be in the forefront of ensuring the lockdown monitoring," Ntuli said.
He said As part of the critical task the ProvJoint has conducted a thorough analysis of the threat and all the possible areas that will require proactive tactical intervention. He said the environmental screening and security assessment has guided the integrated operational plan that has been developed - from the army to the police, intelligence agencies and road traffic personnel we can safely say we are all ready to hit the ground running.
"From all corners of our communities, townships, small towns, suburbs and villages, we will maintain and sustain visibility of our enforcement agencies throughout the prescribed period of lockdown. Our message is simple - 'Stay at Home'. We are deploying all our resources, personnel, equipment, financial and technology to effectively discharge the task at hand.
"Our enforcement plan includes ensuring that those who will attempt loitering our streets are dealt with. During this time, we will also be focusing on liquor outlets with a view of clamping down all those who will attempt to serve or smuggle alcohol. This will include illegal traders in townships and rural villages," he said.
Teams will also be monitoring public areas and facilities such as beaches, parks, public transport facilities and shopping malls as part of the law enforcement clamp down.
"I was also briefed on the progress of investigation in relation to the 22 cases of the violation of the Disaster Management Act and measures that were previously announced by the President. This is worrying as it demonstrates that some sections within our society do not take seriously the issue of this deadly and devastating pandemic.
"While doing all of this, there will be a strong focus in the fight against crime. There will be various operations targeting most wanted criminals and multi-disciplinary road blocks which will be accompanied by cordon search. Vehicles that will be transporting non-essential goods and those who will be smuggling counterfeit goods will be dealt with harshly so," Ntuli said.
Following the announcement of the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, on measures in the public transport industry, Ntuli said they were engaging with the provincial leadership of the taxi industry with a view of developing a practical plan on the provision of transport for essential service workers and members of the public who will be requiring essential goods and medical assistance.
"The road traffic fraternity has developed a plan that will ensure the implementation of these measures including the restrictions on the number of people per taxi and operating times. This is equally applicable to other public transport modes including the e-Hailing services. To further process the implementation of this plan, we will later today convene the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster meeting which will give further guidance to the plan and its implementation," he said.
Ntuli appealed to residents to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and avoid unnecessary movement.
"We must avoid confrontation at all costs. We therefore appeal for tolerance and respect as we are all faced with a common enemy which is the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.