JOHANNESBURG – As South Africa braces for the lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for full cooperation from the public.
Cele urged citizens to have confidence and trust in the police and members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
The SAPS and SANDF will from midnight patrol streets to enforce the compliance of the lockdown which prohibits all activities and operations while only essential service workers have been exempted.
WATCH: SA on lockdown: Here’s what you need to know
Cele said that citizens should not provoke or be frightened by law enforcement officials over the next 21 days.
As the countdown to the nationwide lockdown begins, Cele said that the rules were simple.
“Come 23.59pm tonight, life stops. And that is an appeal to the people of South Africa to do what is right.”
Cele said the partnership between the police and the army was not to intimidate citizens but to carry out government’s measures which were in place to benefit the public.
“Let’s pull together on this because not doing so will lead to disaster.”
The minister has reiterated that this is not a state of emergency, which he said would only be implemented if the lockdown failed to halt the spread of the virus.
“We haven’t reached the point where soldiers are deployed independently, which is a state of emergency. Let’s hope we don’t reach that level.”
To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.