“It appears as if all caution has been thrown to the wind”
CONCERN has been expressed by residents that overcrowded nightclubs in the city are operating past the stipulated curfew, where patrons are disregarding the Covid-19 regulations.
A video was taken of people teeming through the streets on the weekend, carrying bottles of liquor, while failing to follow social distancing requirements and not wearing masks.
Under alert Level 1, nightclubs are not permitted to operate, while the sale of alcohol is prohibited after midnight.
Residents are worried that the night-time establishments could become super-spreaders for the pandemic.
“We understand that it is alert Level 1 and that people are tired of being cooped up in their homes, but we are dealing with over 300 people at a nightclub, two hours after midnight. It appears as if all caution has been thrown to the wind. No action is being taken to prevent non-compliance. The police cannot be expected to police nightclubs as they have other crimes to attend to,” said one concerned resident.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said on Monday that the police conducted compliance operations in terms of the National Disaster Management Act regulations in all districts of the Northern Cape over the weekend.
“Nightclubs are not permitted to operate under lockdown alert Level 1,” said Ramatseba.
“Nightclubs are monitored for compliance with the regulations and Covid-19 protocols. Fines are issued to liquor outlets that contravene the regulations.”
He added that the police are engaging with the Northern Cape Liquor Board on a continuous basis.
Northern Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism spokesperson Ali Diteme said that they had received reports of non-compliance across the Province.
“The MEC for the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Abraham Vosloo, will this week host a meeting with nightclub owners in the Province who have not been able to operate during the lockdown restrictions.”
The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said on Sunday that 53 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the Northern Cape, bringing the cumulative total to 34,363 positive cases as of March 7.
The John Taolo Gaetsewe District recorded the highest number of new positive cases (15), followed by 14 new cases in the Frances Baard District, 11 cases in Namakwa, seven cases in ZF Mgcawu and six in Pixley ka Seme.
No new Covid-19-related deaths were reported.
There are 2,058 active cases in the Northern Cape, while 726 people have lost their lives due to Covid-19 in the Province.