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'Stay home and cooperate with the SAPS and SANDF during lockdown'

Published Mar 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has urged South Africans to cooperate with police officers and the army as they help enforce the national lockdown to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting from midnight on Thursday until April 16.

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On Tuesday morning, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced there was now 554 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. This was a considerable jump from 402 cases which had been confirmed on Monday. 

Popcru national spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the lockdown would see most businesses closing. He said asking people to stay indoors was the only defensive measure to curb the spread of the outbreak which has infected 554 since the first case was confirmed earlier this month.

“As we enter these uncharted waters, we urge our communities to fully cooperate with the many police men and women, health workers, traffic officials and other servants of the nation who will be on duty during this challenging period,” Mamabolo said.

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While most South Africans immediately took to social media to welcome Ramaphosa’s announcement, some quickly expressed concerns about their safety after some members of the SANDF immediately made inroads into Johannesburg on Monday despite the lockdown being scheduled for Thursday night.

But the SANDF took to social media to allay the concerns, pointing out that they were not enforcing the shutdown yet.

“The SANDF would like to confirm that the soldiers seen in Johannesburg are part of the SANDF’s mobilisation phase as part of normal preparations for support to government and it is not a deployment as speculated. The SANDF would like to appeal to the public to remain calm,” the SANDF said on social media.

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Ramaphosa pointed out that the police would lead the enforcement of the lockdown, with the SANDF providing support.

Mamabolo said civilians had to be obedient.

“The survival of our nation is a priority, and in these defining times, we need to inculcate a culture of co-operation and obedience to the guidelines as provided by government. We believe our co-operation will define our greatness as a nation,” Mamabolo said.

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