Five police officers in isolation with Covid-19 in Gauteng

23 April 2020 - 20:03 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Police during lockdown patrols in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. File photo.
Police during lockdown patrols in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell / Sunday Times

Five police officers are in isolation after contracting Covid-19 in Gauteng, says provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Ellias Mawela.

He declined to name the police stations with confirmed cases, saying they would be stigmatised and people would not want to go there, despite measures to disinfect them.

Mawela was speaking on the sidelines of a lockdown operation by law enforcement officials alongside the SANDF in Soweto on Thursday.

He said the operation was prompted by complaints from law-abiding citizens, concerned at how some people were carrying on with their lives as normal, ignoring the call to stay at home.

Some people in the township believed they would not contract the virus, according to Mawela.

“We have a responsibility as law enforcement officials in this country to ensure that we educate our community.

Mawela cautioned that if people failed to adhere to the regulations, the country would lose the battle against the pandemic.

“We want our people to observe the regulations so that we can stop the spread of the virus, especially in this province.

Gauteng was, until Thursday, the epicentre of the pandemic. “If we lose Gauteng, we have lost the whole country,” he said.

Thousands of people have been arrested since the start of the lockdown.

“We’re not happy about arresting a lot of people, what we want to achieve more is for the people to talk to their conscious and observe the regulations,” he said.

“The gender-based violence, like any other crime category, is going down in the province. The only crime which is still a headache for us, is the burglary of business premises,” he said.

He condemned policy brutality, saying “no-one is above the law”. Members of the police were being engaged on ways to implement the lockdown regulations without resorting to violence.


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