Police’s spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube called for behavioural change among members of the community to fight COVID-19 and curb the transmission of the virus. Motube made the call in an interview with Mmegi following President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s concern over the increase in crime and non-adherence to Covid-19 health protocols during a recent nation address. Since the pandemic outbreak, the police have been worried over continued poor adherence to Corona virus preventative measures by members of the public therefore Motube called on members of the community to change the old tradition of doing things and how they have been approaching issues.
He stated that the emerging variant of the novel Corona virus has made it clear that if people do not change the way they do things, they would exacerbate the effects of the pandemic.
“Nothing has changed, the law is clear, we will continue to enforce the law and make sure that everyone complies. People should take individual and collective responsibility to protect themselves and the entire nation from COVID-19,” Motube said. He also said if people could change their behaviour for a while they could save people as lives are lost on a daily basis due to the Corona virus. He said everyone has the power to stop the spread of the virus if they could consider adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
He raised a concern over people who only adhere to protocols when they see the police.
“The majority of people put on face masks only in the presence of the police. Enforcement of the law becomes hard on our side when people do not follow protocols. Some people have accused the police of brutality whilst some see us as enemies only because we try to enforce the law to curb the spread of the virus,” Motube said.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday, President Masisi said the virus can only be defeated through strict adherence to set protocols adding that law enforcement officers have noticed an increase in crime and non-adherence to COVID-19 health protocols, a development which he regarded as worrisome and unfortunate.
In this regard, Masisi said law enforcement officers would take stern measures against those who break the law in ensuring that the nation continues to enjoy peace and security as guaranteed by the Constitution. In yet another development, recently acting police commissioner, Phemelo Ramakorwane in a leaked Savingram issued stiff penalties on enforcement of COVID-19 regulations.
In the Savingram, the then acting police commissioner revealed to have discovered that members of the public charged for disobeying COVID-19 laws are in most cases given minimum fines. Ramakorwane further stated that the said fines are in most cases too low and never bring about the desired effect in terms of deterring the public from committing offences.
“As you are no doubt aware, the country is experiencing an exponential increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and it is apparent that the low fines could be attributed to this lack of compliance with COVID-19 protocols. As a consequence, you are hereby directed that with immediate effect, all offenders charged for violating COVID-19 laws should face maximum penalties in order to achieve compliance thereto. This directive is binding on all commanders and I expect strict adherence at all times,” the police Savigram reads.
Furthermore, through the Savingram Ramakorwane instructed that information should be sent to his office indicating how each division has performed by the number of cases against the fines.