The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to minister Bheki Cele requesting that existing community policing structures in rural areas be enlisted to assist the South African Police Service (Saps) during the lockdown.
According to the party, this is because criminal elements in rural areas are likely to exploit the lockdown “for their own nefarious purposes.”
“While fighting the Coronavirus we must also ensure that crime prevention is at the top of our agenda,” said the DA.
The party issued a statement saying it supports the intention of the Saps instruction preventing Community Policing Forums (CPFs) and Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs) from active deployment during the lockdown.
“This is incredibly important in densely populated urban environments in order to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Rural communities, however, are sparsely populated and increasingly vulnerable to criminal elements during the lockdown while SAPS is focused on enforcing the regulations.”
The DA said it is important for the SAPS to consider, on a case by case basis, the deployment of existing rural community policing structures to be their eyes and ears in rural areas.
“These community policing structures must operate within the existing command structure and comply fully with all applicable legislation. It must be made clear to all that only Saps, with the support of the SANDF, are responsible for enforcing the regulations.”