Police minister Bheki Cele says the SA Police Service does not aim to arrest and criminalise people in large numbers, but will enforce level 4 regulations to save lives.
On Tuesday, Cele briefed the media on the steps his department will take to ensure citizens adhere to regulations after the country was moved to lockdown level 4 by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.
The move came after a meeting of the national coronavirus command council, the president’s co-ordinating council and cabinet after a huge spike in coronavirus cases, particularly in Gauteng.
Here are five quotes from Cele’s address.
No unnecessary arrests
“Law enforcement officers will play a critical role in ensuring mass compliance of the level 4 rules. Security forces have their work cut out for them.
“However, I want to assure the country that while law enforcement is up to the task, their aim is not to arrest and criminalise people en masse.”
If you drop the ball, you face the law
“Those who choose to drop the ball and transgress, they must know that police will be left with no choice but to act.
“For the next coming days, everyone who lives within the borders of this country is expected to comply with the regulations set out to save lives.”
Number of arrests for non-compliance to the regulations
“Since March 27 (2020), 465,098 people have been charged with the contravention of the Disaster Management Act. 7,439 of them were nabbed during adjusted alert level 3 which commenced on June 16.”
Community members must work with police
“Police will continue to monitor compliance through targeted operations, which will be intensified in hotspot provinces. Community members are also encouraged to continue to be instrumental in reporting the flouting of the regulations.”
Political leaders must act responsibly
“Political leaders of all parties are urged to act responsibly during this time and be reminded that no amount of political mileage is worth people’s lives.”