Johannesburg - Several Johannesburg Metro Police Department officials have been carrying out their tasks in fear in the empty streets of Johannesburg during the 21 day lockdown period. Deemed essential workers, the officials have joined forces with SAPS, and SANDF members conducting patrols to curb the spread of coronavirus.
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A JMPD officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that they do not have firearms. “We are risking our lives here, we are out on the streets without firearms so it’s really not safe for us, but we are expected to carry on with our duties.”
He was among a group of officers deployed to Jabulani Mall in Soweto to monitor the scene as the elderly received their Sassa grants.
“Jabulani Mall is a public space. The elderly are getting paid and I think we still need firearms to keep them safe as police officials,” he said.
JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla acknowledged that it was against the law for officers to be on the road without proper equipment. “With the outbreak of Covid-19 we needed more police visibility on the ground and we had to take duty officers to the ground which is why some of them might have been seen without firearms,” he said.
Fihla explained that JMPD officials were subject to a parade every morning and that the commander of the parade should ensure that they do not begin their duties without a firearm, bulletproof vest and an appointment card.
"We will follow up with different regions to ensure that no JMPD officers are deployed to the streets without firearms," he said.
SAMWU Gauteng spokesperson Jack Mokalapa confirmed that he has received complaints from some JMPD officials on the ground. Mokapa said he would follow up with their employer.