Respect the rule of law, South Africans urged

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As South Africa enters the second week of a 21 day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, law enforcement agencies called on communities and organisations to refrain from taking the law into their own hands to enforce the Disaster Management Regulations.

The NatJOINTS, comprising various government departments, is responsible for co-ordination of COVID-19 operations, including high density policing, border control, route security and public health infection containment, among others, said the majority of the nation is adhering to lockdown regulations.

“The call for greater adherence follows continuous non-adherence by certain individuals,” NatJOINTS said in a statement.

This comes after Eastern Cape taxi operators tried to stop vehicles transporting essential service workers. This must cease immediately as no one may take the law into their own hands, said the NatJOINTS.

“We call on civilians to adhere to the regulations and not enforce the lockdown regulations on their own as citizens are required to remain in their own homes during this period and by not doing so will be breaking the law.”

The NatJOINTS said essential service workers risk their lives to ensure all people in South Africa continue to receive essential services as well as to ensure COVID-19 is contained.

Police are not only involved with enforcement of the Disaster Management Regulations but continue to perform Constitutional obligations to ensure  all South Africans are and feel safe.

“Further to this, the security forces are involved in ensuring safe and conducive areas for the thousands of field workers conducting screening and testing for the Covid-19 in our communities. Police officers are deployed to assist in securing identified quarantine and isolation sites,” said NatJOINTS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

Last week, groups stormed a supermarket and disrupted services demanding the store manager furnish employees with gloves and masks in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

When police arrived on the scene in Mpumalanga, the group had left. One person was arrested for the incident in Gauteng.

“The SA Police Service will act on all complaints received as no one has a special provision to act in a manner contrary to regulations governing the lockdown period,” said Naidoo.

The NatJOINTS urged citizens to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary such as getting essential supplies, seeking medical assistance and collecting social grants.

“The NatJOINTS calls on everyone who may have complaints or information relating to non-adherence of the Disaster Management Regulations to contact law enforcement officials through the SAPS Crime Stop number 086 00 10111 or submitting tip-offs anonymously on the MySAPSApp, available for download on Android or iPhone,” read the statement.