An operation in Alexandra township saw Metro Police, the SAPS and the SANDF come together to enforce the rule on the first day of the national lockdown. Picture: Timothy Bernard /African News Agency (ANA)
An operation in Alexandra township saw Metro Police, the SAPS and the SANDF come together to enforce the rule on the first day of the national lockdown. Picture: Timothy Bernard /African News Agency (ANA)

Lockdown Day 1 a success for police as 24 000 officers deployed and 55 suspects arrested - Cele

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 27, 2020

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Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele says law enforcement officers had a "successful night" in enforcing compliance with lockdown regulations as 55 people were arrested for violating various rules. 

Cele and other ministers held a briefing on Friday night reporting on the first day of the national lockdown. Cele said there were 172 roadblocks conducted across the country and 24 000 officials were deployed across the country to ensure compliance

A breakdown of arrests by province; Gauteng (20), North West (11), Limpopo (10), KwaZulu-Natal (7), Free State (5) and the Western Cape (2). 

He said officials were overwhelmed with reports from various concerned citizens alerting them to transgressors. 

“We had a successful night. Many South Africans were altering the police of things that need to be followed upon. Fifty-five people were arrested for various transgressions. These people were doing things that they were not supposed to do. They were undermining the lives of the people of South Africa. Whoever is not following the law is working with the enemy that is the coronavirus," Cele said. 

He cautioned citizens to continue obeying the law. He said officials were still looking at how to better police the number of shoppers that visit supermarkets. Cele said there concerns about the long lines observed at various supermarkets as people attempted to do last minute shopping. 

An operation in Alexandra township saw Metro Police, the SAPS and the SANDF come together to enforce the rule on the first day of the national lockdown. Many people in the area did not take the message seriously. Video : Timothy Bernard /African News Agency (ANA)

Transport

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said there were various issued observed in his portfolio overnight. He said various people were spotted trying to travel between provinces and some even attempting to cross the border into Zimbabwe. 

He said there were also issues with public transport as some taxi owners had delayed in picking essential service workers in the morning. Public taxis were only allowed to operate between 5 am and 9 am and in the afternoon from 4 pm to 8 pm. 

Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Mbalula also said the German government would be arriving on Tuesday to charter planes to fetch German tourists who were stuck in the country. No international or domestic flights would be permitted to operate during the lockdown. 

SANDF 

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe-Mapisa-Nqakula said the SANDF was assisting SAPS officials and were not permitted to make any arrests but were there to assist. She said there were areas, such as Alexandra Township were the army had not been deployed and this was later rectified. 

She confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa had written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise confirming the deployment of 3000 soldiers, but that did not mean they were all deployed at once. 

Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

It was reported that the deployment could possibly run until June. 

Trade and Industry 

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said essential trading such as food production did occur. He said retailers had also been able to restock their shelves following panic buying that took place on Thursday. Patel also said he had signed new regulations to help control the import of goods such as face-masks, sanitisers and critical medication.

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