Continue with the good work – Bheki Cele

Minister commend public for their commitment to enforcing and adhering to the lockdown regulations

Police Minister and SAPS management commend members of the Security Forces on Covid-19 lockdown deployment ant the public for their commitment to enforcing and adhering to the lockdown regulations

19 April 2020

Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele and his Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale on Friday, 17 April 2020 engaged with the management of the South African Police Service following the ministerial visits to provinces to assess enforcement measures and adherence by the public to the nationwide covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The engagement culminated in a joint statement by the Ministry of Police and the SAPS Management, expressing gratitude to the members of the South African Police Service, South African Defence Force, Metro Police Departments and other law enforcement agencies, for their unwavering commitment and resilience in support of government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Responding to reports of police members arrested for contravening the lockdown regulations including liquor related crimes, Minister Cele condemned the acts of criminality by this small percentage of members that seek to rubbish the good work of the security forces during the lockdown. The Minister also welcomed the arrests which endorse the SAPS’ zero-tolerance approach to criminality and corruption by members.

“With us entering another two weeks of the lockdown aptly extended by President Cyril Ramaphosa, I want to encourage the members on deployment to continue the good work of ensuring that our citizens are protected against the killer corona virus, and that they do this within the confines of the law,” cited Police Minister, General Bheki Cele.

Minister Cele also took the opportunity to pay tribute to two members of the SAPS who lost their lives while executing their duties during the lockdown. Constable Percy Ramalepe (33) of Sandton Vispol was buried in Giyani, Limpopo on Saturday, 18 April 2020 after he was shot and killed while responding to a complaint of domestic violence in Sandton on 09 April 2020. The member was allegedly killed by the 60-year old husband of the complainant who then turned the gun on himself and died on the scene.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Steven Damoense (33) from the Northern Cape Organised Crime Unit was also buried yesterday, 18 April 2020 in Delportshoop. Damoense was on patrol duty on 30 March 2020 in Rietvale, Modderrivier when he was fatally stabbed by a suspect who has since been arrested.

The Minister reminded the management of the SAPS to ensure that members are at all times protected against possible infection of the corona virus, and that they are adequately equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

“That there are a number of police members who have tested positive for the corona virus is no anomaly and it is for this reason that we are appealing to members of the public to do the right thing and stay home to protect our members who are out there on the streets, exposed and vulnerable to infection and spreading of the virus,” said Minister Cele.

With this, the Minister of Police also assured the public that measures are in place and overseen by the SAPS COVID-19 National Steering Committee, whose efforts are to ensure that members’ wellness is prioritised and that service delivery is not affected negatively during the lockdown.

Both the Minister and the SAPS management have expressed concern at countrywide arrests for violation of lockdown regulations. People are arrested for amongst other offences: fraudulent lockdown permits; failure to confine themselves to places of residence; illegal gatherings; and the biggest percentage, for violating regulations on the prohibition of the sale of liquor.

At the same time, the Minister has also appreciated the positive response by an even greater percentage of the public, particularly those who continue to be the eyes and ears of the security forces in some residential areas in their effort to ensure that everyone is home and safe.

Minister Cele reiterated that, “these arrests can be avoided if people can listen and adhere to government’s call to stay home for their own protection against the corona virus.”

The Minister has also appealed to civil society to work with and support government’s priority to get everyone to stay home and save South Africa. Adhering to this call, galvanising society to stay home, would minimise the burden on security forces in relation to policing during the lockdown.

Together We Can Beat The Corona Virus!

Issued by Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, Acting Spokesperson, Ministry of Police, 19 April 2020