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'No negotiations' as crackdown begins on bars, car washes

MBONGENI MGUNI
'No negotiations' as crackdown begins on bars, car washes
The Botswana Police Service says the ‘era of negotiations, compromise and public education’ is over, as they prepare to launch a crackdown on those violating the Covid-19 regulations particularly around alcohol consumption and public gatherings.

An internal memo sent from the Commissioner of Police to his officers and seen by Mmegi today has cancelled leave for all police, as part of the “intensification of enforcement of Covid-19 protocols”. Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe told officers that the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases meant a change in tactic was required.

Makgophe’s memo says police will target “hotspots” such as bars, car washes and open places as well as funerals and other social events, in their enforcement of the regulations. Authorities say alcohol is being consumed in illegal spots, while social gatherings such as funerals, are frequently going above the legal limit.

“All officers currently on leave are therefore instructed to immediately report at their duty stations in order to fully support our enforcement efforts,” he said.

This evening, police spokesperson, Dipheko Motube declined to confirm the memo’s authenticity, but confirmed that operations

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were set to begin targeting violators of the Covid-19 regulations.

“As police, we would like to send a warning that we have gone past the era of negotiations and public education and very soon, you should be prepared to come across a very changed and uncompromising Botswana Police Service,” he told Mmegi.

“You will come across a very stubborn and uncompromising BPS because Covid-19 is also uncompromising.

“That is our crystal clear message to those who are not prepared to take government advice and regulations in fighting this pandemic.”

The Presidential Task Force this week announced that local active cases had doubled to 75 from a week ago, saying the situation was getting out of hand. In response, government on Wednesday tightened regulations on gatherings and liquor trading hours, with Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane, telling legislators earlier today that further measures were possible.



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