Gauteng Covid-19 efforts hampered by lockdown deviants

Andile Sicetsha - 18.01.2021

Gauteng police made more than 1 000 arrests this past weekend.

Law enforcement in most parts of Gauteng have had a busy weekend, dealing with lockdown deviants who contravene even the simplest of Disaster Management Act regulations like wearing a face mask in public.

Makhura’s pleas fall on deaf ears

Last week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura pleaded with residents to avoid unnecessary gatherings and help in lightening the load on healthcare workers who have been strained by excessive patient admissions.

The province has overtaken the Western Cape to become the virus’ epicentre, with more than 361 000 total infections recorded. Hospital capacity is the province’s biggest concern and with constrained oxygen supply and a thinning workforce, things could worsen if nothing is done about deviancy.

“As we have more infections, we’re going to experience more hospital admissions. We’re not even at the peak. We’d like to appeal to communities to help our healthcare system by continuing to sanitise hands, wear the mask, social distance and by staying away from funerals unless it’s a family funeral,” Makhura pleaded.

Gauteng police arrest 1 000+ lockdown deviants

Sadly, the pleas fell on deaf ears since, in the third weekend of 2021, 1 176 lockdown deviants were arrested for flouting Alert 3 rules, while two businesses were shut down for allowing alcohol consumption on-site.

In a statement, the provincial commissioner’s office noted with concern the scale of disobedience witnessed in Gauteng.

At least 34 people were arrested for not wearing a face mask in public. About 700 others were nabbed for reasons linked to general contravention of the National Disaster Management Act.

Violent criminals were also taken off the streets this weekend. In Sedibeng and West Rand, more than 290 suspects were arrested for crimes, including “robbery, possession of suspected stolen property, rape, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and possession of drugs.”

Gauteng top-cop Major General Mthombeni has made it clear that law enforcement will remain a top priority in the nation’s effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Operations to enforce the regulations will be intensified in the province as long as the people fail to adhere,” he warned.