Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela led a Covid-19 joint operation

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela led a Covid-19 joint operation


Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela led a Covid-19 joint operation by police and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in Soweto on Thursday.

Officers conducted raids following tip-offs from the community that people were not complying with regulations applicable during the nationwide lockdown, which is in effect to delay the spread of Covid-19.

Among the allegations were claims that people were selling fake essential services permits to traders.

Members of the SA Police Service, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and SANDF also enforced regulation compliance, stopping and searching motorists, distributing Covid-19 pamphlets and checking whether minibus taxis at the Bara Taxi Rank complied with the 70% load regulation.

Mawela told News24: “In Soweto, we are here to stamp the authority of the state. We are here to enforce the regulations, based on the complaints we have received from the community, saying that it’s business as usual in Soweto. People are not observing the regulations.”

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“People are not maintaining the social distance. They are also not confining themselves to their private space. They are just roaming the streets without any valid reason for that,” the commissioner said.

“We are still seeing some of the shops that are continuing to trade non-essential goods. We’re also seeing those, who are allowed to sell the essential goods, flouting some of the regulations. For example, they don’t follow the health regulations… So we are here to enforce all those regulations,” Mawela added.

A butcher at the taxi rank was shut down, its owner was arrested and his licence revoked after it emerged that the store allegedly sold expired food and stored rotten meat on the premises.

Gauteng Department of Health inspector John Nyambi told News24: “They found that there is an invalid certificate of acceptability, which is issued under Regulation 368…We decided to conduct a full inspection. So we are closing this business.”