Government has deployed a total of 22 347 traffic officers across the country, to ensure compliance with the published regulations and directions for the 21-day nationwide lockdown that commenced on Friday in response to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.
“Our national traffic police are working closely with the Defence Force and the South African Police Service (Saps) in enforcing the law at the Beitbridge and the Lebombo border posts,” said transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
He was speaking during cabinet’s update on the first day of the lockdown alongside ministers who are part of the Covid-19 National Command Council.
Saps and security personnel from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) reportedly patrolled at Park Station on Friday.
“We have received a number of reports of non-compliance with the regulations and directions governing transport movement during the lockdown period,” said Mbalula.
He also addressed reports in Gauteng that a number of taxis were being filled to capacity in violation of the capacity restrictions in the regulations.
“The taxi industry has raised concern relating to the requirement that passengers in a taxi cannot exceed 50% of its legal capacity. We will look into the matter and find a solution that does not undermine the purpose of the lockdown or compromise the principle of social distance.”
The National Traffic Police and South African Police Service have closed the N1 North from Carousel towards Limpopo, as a measure to enforce compliance. Only essential traffic and commercial vehicles are allowed passage.
“Personnel at our toll plazas are not classified as essential staff and as a consequence, the concessionaires have opened all the toll plazas. We have taken note of concerns raised by industry of limiting the movement of cargo only to essential cargo. We have therefore resolved this matter and all cargo will be allowed passage,” added Mablula.
Government is in the process of issuing new directions covering transitional arrangements relating to drives’ and learners’ licensing issues.
Incidents and arrests
A male cyclist was arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Regulations, by cycling on the M1 South freeway near Southgate.
The cyclist told officials that he was attempting to cycle to Cape Town. He was detained at the Mondeor Police Station.
“There are six South African seafarers on a cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth II, currently at anchor in Durban. These South Africans want to disembark and return home. However, our regulations do not allow crew changes at any of our ports, even if these are South Africans.
“The Queen Elizabeth II is waiting for clearance to enter the port in order to refuel and take provisions. This is a matter we are urgently considering,” explained Mbalula.
Six people died and nine others were injured in a collision on the R56 outside Richmond, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The crash was a head-on collision between a minibus taxi and a truck. It occurred in the early hours of Friday morning, at around 2am.
The minibus-taxi was from Gauteng and was filled to capacity.