Cops clamp down on compliance with Covid lockdown restrictions

Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam.

Mitchell’s Plain residents did not comply with national Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

“The lockdown has had no impact on Mitchell’s Plain. We as a station have had an impact,” says Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam.

And, he says, there had been “little to no adherence” to lockdown restrictions.

Brigadier Goolam said since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reinstatement of Level 3 restrictions, in December, police have had to strictly enforce the curfew and the wearing of masks, and ensure that no illegal alcohol sales took place.

“We have had specific operations during the lockdown to reduce crime. Also, we’ve never had a problem with liquor outlets. Our problem is drugs.”

He said before the president’s most recent speech, residents would be roaming the streets well after curfew in Eastridge, Tafelsig and Freedom Park.

Brigadier Goolam said they issued several fines a week, ranging from R1 000 to R1 500 each to people who did not comply with lockdown restrictions.

“This virus is lethal. It is the unseen enemy. We can’t have insensitive people going around not taking Covid-19 seriously. It is costing the government millions of rands and even more because people are not complying,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said they had been clamping down on specific crime generators and targeting individuals who were dealing in drugs.

“I have shifted the focus from possession to dealing.”

However, he added: “I am ignoring those found in possession.”

The station has also remained focused on the financial proceeds of crime and securing the arrest and prosecution of those contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

With regards to violence against women and children, Brigadier Goolam said it was only the court that should be allowed to decide whether the charges should be withdrawn against the abuser.

He said they had had repeat offenders up to 15 times because the victims withdrew the charges. In most cases this was because the victims were dependent on their abusers.

“It is traumatic for the victim, who comes in each time with further injuries. Fortunately nobody had died,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said they had also had to escort ambulances into crime hot spot areas.

“In most cases we have neighbourhood watch members waiting to receive the ambulance,” he said.

Mitchell’ Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Norman Jantjes reported that most residents were complying with the lockdown regulations.

“Very few people are still not wearing masks in public or gathering in groups,” he said, adding that religious and community leaders had played a major role in getting the word out.

“Members of the neighbourhood watch and block committees are also assisting SAPS with ensuring compliance,” he said.

He said the streets were generally quiet with only a handful of people still roaming around.

“We as the CPF want to appeal to all community members to strictly adhere to the government’s Covid-19 regulations so that we can reduce the number of infections and deaths,” said Mr Jantjes.