Pretoria – Transport authorities in South Africa registered an increased number of vehicles on the roads in the second week of the 21-day national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
At the start of week two of lockdown, the number of cars stopped and checked at roadblocks across the country increased from 17,559 on Monday to 29,738 on Wednesday.
E-hailing transport providers that failed to adhere to passenger limits for a vehicle licensed to carry four passengers increased from 32 on Monday and peaked at 509 on Wednesday.
Minibus taxis that failed to adhere to the passenger limits increased from 18 on Monday to 509 on Wednesday.
Attempts by motorists to cross provincial boundaries, despite a ban on inter-provincial travel, increased from 125 on Monday to 196 on Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, Gauteng had the highest number of motorists attempting to cross to other provinces at 108, but was overtaken by Mpumalanga at 149 on Wednesday.
“This conduct demonstrates a worrying trend which must be roundly condemned by both government and civil society. Those who undermine efforts to arrest the spread of this pandemic must face the full might of the law and equally face condemnation by society, as their behaviour places the lives of millions at risk,” said Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Despite this, Mbalula said he was encouraged by the majority of citizens who continued to respect and comply with lockdown regulations.
He further commended the “sterling commitment” of traffic enforcement officers across the country for ensuring that South Africans remained home. Traffic officers provided critical support to other law enforcement agencies, he said.
“The department through its entity, provincial departments responsible for road safety and municipalities, deployed traffic officers across the country to ensure compliance with the published regulations and directions,” said Mbalula.
The minister said he was motivated by the taxi associations, e-hailing providers and private motorists who continued to comply with the Covid-19 regulations and directives.
“Industry bodies must play their part to reign in those who continue to demonstrate flagrant disregard of the law. Law enforcement will be intensified and authorities will not hesitate to ensure that the full might of the law is brought to bear on those who continue to break it,” he said.
South Africa is going through a 21-day national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. The country has recorded five more Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the total to 18 on Wednesday, while the number of confirmed infections nationally has risen by 96 to 1,845.
The lockdown is accompanied by a string of regulations that limit the movement of citizens, who are expected to stay at home unless they are shopping for food, seeking medical help or supplies, banking, buying petrol, collecting social grants, or performing essential services.
African News Agency (ANA)
* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL’s special #Coronavirus page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za
By Jonisayi Maromo