By dawn on Friday, 55 people had been taken in across the country, 20 of them in Gauteng. The first weekend of the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown came and went amid reports and stories of widespread defiance, with people arrested for breaking laws designed to protect them.
Law enforcement agents came out in full force to ensure strict compliance, but they have come under fire for alleged brutality, including opening fire on residents, unnecessary authoritarianism and overzealous violence and foul language.
About 24,000 SA Police Service members, complemented by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), metro police departments and other law enforcement officers, were in deployment.
As the clock struck midnight on Thursday, vehicles still moving in contravention of the regulations were turned back at roadblocks on the N4 to and from North West and on the N3 to and from KwaZulu-Natal.
According to Minister of Police Bheki Cele, 172 roadblocks were set up on the main routes countrywide, also covering parallel routes to deal with motorists who tried to dodge the main roadblocks.
By dawn on Friday, 55 people had been taken in across the country, 20 of them in Gauteng. Six were arrested in Alexandra alone and 14 in other parts of the province; 11 in North West; 10 in Limpopo; seven in KwaZulu-Natal; five in the Free State; and two in the Western Cape.
These arrests were related to blatant disregard for lockdown regulations, engaging in activities such as street parties and drinking in groups in public, even though it had been stressed that the sale and movement of liquor during the lockdown period was prohibited.
Cele said intentional contraventions of the lockdown regulations not only undermined the authority of the state, but also the health and lives of others who had displayed goodwill by cooperating and supporting police efforts to enforce the law.
But law enforcement agents have not come out of the weekend covered in glory, with the Democratic Alliance proposing the establishment of an ad hoc committee to ensure civil liberties were protected at all times during this lockdown.
Interim party leader John Steenhuisen said they had written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to request that she used the power at her disposal in terms of Rule 253(1)(b) of the Rules of the National Assembly to establish an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly.
Its role would be to ensure continuous oversight over the national executive authority and organs of state.
He said although the party had committed its full support to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet, they still had a duty to hold the executive to account.
“Already this week, there have been numerous reports of brutality at the hands of South African National Defence Force soldiers deployed across South Africa.
“More worrying accounts include allegations of soldiers opening fire on residents and employing unnecessarily authoritarian and overzealous violence and language,” Steenhuisen said.
He said this was unacceptable and deeply worrying as it showed a government in contempt of the civil liberties afforded to all South Africans in a free and democratic state, and that these were unprecedented times.
“We need to look at extraordinary measures to ensure that we not only combat Covid-19 and the spread thereof in South Africa, but also have extraordinary measures in place to ensure there is consistent and continual accountability for government,” Steenhuisen added.
In other news – Inside A-Reece’s sweet 23rd Birthday celebration – Pictures
Mzansi rapper A-Reece was born on the 27th of March and he just celebrated his birthday in a smart, simple and sweet way two days ago.
He turned 23 years old and we wish him many years and blessings in his life, and it is truly a blessing, as so many people passed on without reaching such an age. Taking to social media he shared how he celebrated his special day and it looks he enjoyed it. continue reading
Source: The Citizen