Police top management said 45 police buildings had been evacuated and 103 officers had tested positive, with 89 in self-isolation, three currently in hospital and one death recorded.
Cape Town – The burden of enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown has largely fallen on the police and its law enforcement partners and without much time to prepare, the police say they have had to learn and adapt in the face of unprecedented threats and resource constraints.
According to police Major-General Leon Rabie, several officers have contracted the coronavirus and stations have been closed, yet the work must continue.
He said 45 police buildings had been evacuated and 103 staff had tested positive, with 89 in self-isolation, three currently in hospital and one death recorded.
The biggest obstacle to policing procedures remained a reduced workforce, due to increasing cases of infections, Rabie added.
In addition to preventative measures implemented, levels of infection and the impact on staffing were constantly being monitored.
The police management briefed Parliament’s portfolio committee on police, as well as a select committee on security and justice, at a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
It followed a commitment by the police portfolio committee to call a joint meeting to consider pressing issues surrounding the lockdown, which include reports of abuse of power by members of the police in the course of enforcing regulations, as well as to receive a progress report on the overall enforcement by the police during this time.
According to the committee, the reports of abuse of power by officers have been a concern to all.
Rabie said that from March 27 to April 19, there had been more than 100 charges made against government officials that included 97 police staff, 74 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members, nine health department officials, five ward councillors, two traffic enforcement personnel, two correctional services officials, one law enforcement official and one social development department official.
“A total of 143 arrests (73 schools and 70 liquor outlets) were effected and the situation is constantly being monitored to ensure a timeous response
to the identified crime threat.”
The police also recorded 2821 offences that were gathering-related offences, 319 transport-related, 87979 residential-related, 2989 cross-border-
related, and 1096 liquor-related.