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Hundreds arrested in NC for breaking lockdown regulations


A total of 880 people in the Northern Cape have been arrested for contravening the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

A total of 880 people in the Northern Cape have been arrested for contravening the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

This  was the figure released during a stakeholders meeting held in Upington on Friday between the MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nontobeko Eveline Vilakazi,  the ZF Mgcawu district police, the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) and the local traffic agency.

According to the ZF Mgcawu District Police Commander, Brigadier Johnny Besnaar, the highest number of arrests in the province was in the Mgcawu district, where 292 people were arrested.

“We also closed about 30 shebeens in the district,” he said. 

“We did not just close these shebeens but also issue some with fines, while a number of people were also arrested for not complying with the regulations.”

The district that had the second highest number of arrests was Namakwa where 204 people were arrested, followed by Pixley Ka Seme with 175 arrests, John Taolo Gaetsewe with 107 and Francis Baard district with 102 arrests. 

“These were the statistics up until Tuesday. That number may have increased over the past three days,” said Besnaar.

Besnaar said further that police officers were working in partnership with the South African Defence Force and local traffic, including the National Traffic Police, to ensure that residents complied with the regulations implemented in terms of the lockdown.

“We have meetings daily to get the latest updated reports from all the different areas. The ZF Mgcawu district is very vast and we need to ensure that all areas within the district adhere to the regulations,” he said.

He said although there had been reports of violence against police officials or law enforcement officials attacking civilians, there were no such incidents reported in the ZF Mgcawu district.

“We have not had any incidents where any law enforcement official was attacked. I also told officials that we have to assist the community and work in partnership with residents in order to straighten the curve. We do not want to be highlighted as criminals at a time when we need each other,” he said.

He said the biggest challenge encountered was social distancing.

“We have a challenge with crowd control. We understand that schools are closed and the children want to be outside, however we need to be stricter with regards to people roaming the streets. We have also been inundated with phone calls from parents who have requested us to tell their children to stay indoors. We know we are law enforcement agents but we need the assistance of the community to ensure everyone adheres to the rules,” said Besnaar.

Besnaar added that they were ready to assist health officials when the home testing programme was rolled-out.

“We understand that residents are fearful that the home testing programme might create a gap for criminals. We are ready to dispatch our members to accompany health officials when they go out to conduct these tests. We will get our instructions from the ministers but we are ready,” he said.

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