Cele worried about high number of Western Cape cops with Covid-19

04 July 2020 - 19:01 By Philani Nombembe
Police minister Bheki Cele says he is worried about the high number of Covid-19 positive police officers in the Western Cape.
Police minister Bheki Cele says he is worried about the high number of Covid-19 positive police officers in the Western Cape.
Image: Esa Alexander

The Western Cape has the highest number of police officers diagnosed with Covid-19 and killed by the virus.

Speaking in Khayelitsha on Saturday, police minister Bheki Cele said of the 4,000 Covid-19 cases in the SA Police Service, 1,700 are in the Western Cape.

Sixteen police officers in the province had died of the virus, more than half of the national total of 28.

Cele said the Western Cape was giving him sleepless nights, and he had asked for help from the department of health.

“One thing that we have requested ... is that [they] regard our members as front-line workers [and not] keep their results for too long, so that if they are negative they can go back to work,” said Cele.

“If results take too long and yet you are positive, [that] means you are spreading it before you know. Fortunately, [the department of] health understand that police and law enforcement, the SA National Defence Force, metro police and everybody are part of the front-line workers.”

Cele said he had learnt a lot about the pandemic during the first 100 days of lockdown.

“The situation is dire [and] we have been told that we are just taking off, we are not flying yet. I move around here and people don’t do these basic things. Most of them have these masks but they [don’t cover their noses and mouths], and social distancing is absolutely non-existent. It’s zero.”

He said the sale of alcohol, which resumed under alert level 3 of the lockdown, was overburdening the health system.“ But I don’t want to talk about this because I sound like a scratched record,” he said.

“I am glad that people from the health fraternity are raising it sharply to say since alcohol came back on the 1st of June, the health facilities are saturated — your theatres, your trauma centres and everybody.

“People who are not supposed to be in hospital are in hospital, people who could have avoided going to hospital by not getting drunk, injure one another, crash cars, shoot one another ...”


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