Police must get tough on those who fail to wear masks to stop the spread of Covid-19, Police Minister Bheki Cele said during a visit to Bellville this week.
To mark the end of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, Mr Cele toured the Bellville CBD on Thursday and told police to arrest those who flouted Covid-19 regulations.
“When you stop a taxi and the people don’t have masks, arrest the damn driver,” he said. “If people do not wear masks in supermarkets or shopping malls, then the management must also be arrested. They have the responsibility to turn away people who do not wear masks when they enter the shops, and they must also provide hand sanitiser.”
Mr Cele said the police would be on high alert for incidents of gender violence, and lockdown curfews and regulations would be strictly enforced.
Bellville police spokesman Captain Jonathan Blankenberg said police would also be on alert to tackle thefts from vehicles and burglaries – two crimes that traditionally peak at this time of year.
The festive season was a time when people often let their guard down and criminals took advantage of that, he warned.
“Practice good neighbourly relations to become each other’s eyes and ears and join your local neighbourhood watch and let your neighbours or the police know if your home will be unoccupied for a long period of time. Also, let it become a natural instinct to constantly check if your doors are locked and also that your garage doors are locked and not assume that they are locked.”
Residents should also check their alarms were working and report any suspicious incidents or people, he said.
Thefts from vehicles in Bellville had surged in the past month, and motorists should check their cars were properly locked, Captain Blankenberg said.