The Executive Mayor, Councillor Geoff Makhubo has denounced the high volume of traffic on Johannesburg roads, noting that most motorists were in contravention of the Disaster Management Act, which governs the 21-day lockdown.
Makhubo, who has been on various impromptu roadblocks with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) to ramp up compliance measures for the lockdown, has admonished some essential service workers for allegedly abusing their permits.
At least 50 people have been arrested in JMPD traffic operations for violating public health regulations since the lockdown began a week ago.
Makhubo stresses that travel permits have only been granted to allow for seamless travel for work commitments throughout the national state of disaster. He warns that law enforcement will continue with increased sternness.
“There will be no tolerance to those misleading law enforcement authorities. People who do not comply with lockdown measures will be arrested. Citizens are urged to heed the warning and refrain from unlawful activities,” says Makhubo.
The Mayor urges every resident of Johannesburg to stay at home or leave only when necessary, as the City – identified as the epicentre of the pandemic – continues to fight further transmissions of Covid-19.
Makhubo has also condemned the illegal invasion of land and the hijacking of buildings in Johannesburg, noting that the City’s law enforcement agencies will clamp down on perpetrators to protect municipal assets. “An investigation to track down these criminal syndicates is currently underway.”
About 23 illegal occupants were recently evicted from a City owned property on Van Beeck Street in New Doornfontein, which was allegedly hijacked during the lockdown.
“The eviction was a result of the City observing an increase in the number of incidents of lawlessness in certain areas, where criminal syndicates are using the national lockdown to takeover unoccupied buildings and invade open spaces of land,” he says.
Last week the Government of Local Unity requested Izinduna from different hostels in Johannesburg to cooperate with the City in creating awareness of the perils of the Covid-19 pandemic and help enforce compliance with health regulations of the 21-day lockdown.
The City also went on an extensive drive to clean and sanitise major taxi ranks and bus-stops in the Johannesburg CBD in an effort to protect commuters from the pandemic.
The municipality has availed healthcare facilities to screen patients for Covid-19 in case of a wider outbreak, made provision for homeless people in various Recreational Centres and has also identified buildings to be used as quarantine centres.
Residents can contact the City’s 24-hour Joint Operations Disaster Management Centre (JODMC) on 010 224 0934 with any emergencies or to locate clinics made available for Covid-19 screening. People who want to donate hand sanitizers, masks and soups can also contact the centre.
Written by Takalani Sioga