KwaZulu-Natal residents can expect a high level of enforcement from authorities in the form of roadblocks and checks when the country goes into lockdown at midnight to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
“We will be having roadblocks to try to make sure that compliance is being adhered to. We would like the police to monitor areas very closely, such as shebeens, areas where people would want to be congested unnecessarily. We will be making sure that everybody is at the right place at the right time,” Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli said.
He was speaking at the KZN police headquarters in Durban where defense force, road traffic inspectorate, metro police and police officials met to implement plans for the lockdown.
Ntuli said residents should do their best to stay home.
Taxi ranks are quieter after the Covid-19 virus landed in South-South Africa two weeks ago. Drivers sit and read newspapers, while others stand in a huddle, chatting to pass time.
“We have our eyes on everybody in all corners of our province. We are aware that this pandemic will be with us for some time. The message is to stay at home and obey the restrictions from our government.”
He added that the two people who tested positive but did not go into quarantine, were under police guard in hospital.
“I was disappointed to hear that some people had escaped quarantine. That, in my view, was not responsible enough for those citizens that have done that.”
Addressing how cattle herders would herd animals, Ntuli said authorities would understand their circumstances.
“We want to be sensitive to our people, especially in rural areas. Cattle can only be looked after by one person. It is not a normal situation.”
Ntuli added that officials would monitor rural areas too, even if they are vast.
“Like I said, all corners of the province are covered.”
Speaking about long-distance taxis, Ntuli said it was a part of the taxi industry that would suffer.
“You would understand that public transport would suffer like all other businesses. If there is a lockdown, everyone will stay at home. Even factories will be closed. There is a minimum number of people who will be going out of their homes to work.”
He added: “The cake has shrunk and I understand their frustration, but it is not going to be only them that will suffer as a result of these restrictions.
What about crime?
The MEC warned that crimes that were not related to the lockdown would still be policed, adding that crimes “within the home” would be prevalent.
“You would expect gender-based violence would be an issue. We will be monitoring this very closely.”