SOME George residents were caught breaching the Disaster Management Act, despite the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members.
A large group of bathers was swimming in the Blou Dam in the Outeniqua Mountains, George, while others camped between the trees.
In a video, a police officer can be seen using a loudspeaker to address the crowd and warned he would issue fines and arrest them if they failed to get out of the water before ordering those sitting in camp chairs to pack up and leave.
The officer read the Disaster Management Act, informing the crowd the Garden Route was a hot spot for Covid-19, which meant people could not swim in beaches, rivers or dams.
Southern Cape police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie did not say if further action was taken against the crowd.
George and other areas in the Southern Cape were declared Covid-19 hot spots due to a spike in infections. Various restrictions were placed, even ahead of alert Level 3 regulations.
The infection rate resulted in local government calling for more boots on the ground as there was a shortage of staff in both the police force and municipal law enforcement agencies.
Last week, two surfers from the UK were arrested at Langebaan beach while Police Minister Bheki Cele, together with police management, were conducting spot checks.
The minister confirmed that soldiers would be deployed to help maintain compliance with the Disaster Management Act.
He said more than 300 police officers had contracted Covid-19 and 800 were in isolation in the Garden Route.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said that since last Tuesday, soldiers have been supporting police in the Cape Town metropole with crime prevention duties at identified hotspots.
“The areas the deployments already covered include Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Delft, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain, Lentegeur, Samora Machel and Phillipi East.”