Concern over mass exodus out of Gauteng amid Covid-19 outbreak
It is suspected that those making the great trek were from Limpopo and Mpumalanga, keen to join their families for the nationwide shutdown commencing at midnight tomorrow. The N1 north was gridlocked, resulting in a social media storm with most slamming the movement to other areas as irresponsible.
Department of Transport spokesperson Ayanda Allie Paine said on Tuesday that she had not been made aware of the rush out of Gauteng.
“There is no abnormal traffic of people leaving on the N1,” she said, despite the N1 North trending all day.
Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe, however, said the government was discouraging people from leaving the province ahead of the lockdown period.
“It is better if everyone remains in the province (Gauteng) so that those requiring care and treatment can be assisted here,” he said.
Masebe added that Premier David Makhura would talk about this in a media briefing on Wednesday.
Twitter users hit out at those who decided to pack and flee Gauteng as “selfish” for not thinking about the people who reside in the rural areas.
Twitter user Mikateko Khohlisa (@Mikat01) tweeted: “This N1 north rubbish, do people think of their families though? The same way this virus was brought to this country, they want to transport it to Limpopo to their families. Selfish m***.”
(@hlongwanesiya_) tweeted: “People on N1 North driving from Gauteng to Limpopo are doing the same thing people from Lombardy in Italy did when a lockdown was announced. Yerr you people are stubborn like satan.”
Phumlani Nkalanga said: “I had to reverse for 3km on the freeway back to the on-ramp today. I think people from Limpopo are running away from Gauteng. N1 north is a mess.”
Others encouraged the move, saying university students ordered out of their residences had to get home.
Baby lion (@emash_august) tweeted: “Before you call for the shutdown of N1 North, just be reminded that there are students who were told to leave res by end of this week, they’re going home because they have nowhere else to go.”