Police Minister Bheki Cele said soldiers would be deployed to the Garden Route on Wednesday afternoon to help the police enforce compliance with the level three lockdown.
The Garden Route was one of the Western Cape’s first hotspot areas to be placed under lockdown restrictions during the second wave of the coronavirus.
However, the local government said this district had now passed the peak of the second wave and was showing an active decline.
Cele is currently at Santos Beach in Mossel Bay and said they made a request for assistance from the army due to a shortage in police officers infected by COVID-19.
“Our own numbers are down, 300 cops have been infected and 800 are in isolation. So, we need the extra forces from the SANDF, but it is much better than initially reported that people were not complying at all.”
Last month, Garden Route officials requested support from the SANDF because the virus had cut a swathe through law enforcement officials in the area.
Cele is pleased with the improved compliance of COVID-19 regulations in Southern Cape areas.
“I made the request and spoke to the minister. They have arrived in Cape Town and will be assisting us there; they will come to the Southern Cape. We wish our law enforcement members would spend more time dealing with crime rather than checking on things that people are supposed to be doing willingly.”
The minister said they had arrested some European tourists in Langebaan while they were surfing and not adhering to the regulations.
“What’s worse is that those people are from Europe, their beaches are closed, and they come here. They’re undermining us here, so we had to arrest them.”
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