Article by Natalie Müller
The clock has been ticking, hours going by, anxiety peeking as the future is bleak and receding, South Africa finally reaches its last hour as the official lockdown has come to pass. As of 26 March 2020 at 00:00am civilians were met with the strain of their daily routines being replaced by the new reality of being confined in their own homes, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on 23 March 2020, where he announced that South Africa will be officially going into lockdown.
The President declared that on the said date all citizens should officially remain indoors for the duration of the lockdown period, which he stipulated as 21 days. The duration of the lockdown period is said to be from the 26 March 2020 – 16 April 2020.
As anticipated by the President, Government, The South African Police Services as well as SANDF ample citizens may not abide by the law and directives set out by the president as many people have still been found lurking around the streets. This has in turn led to quite a few arrests after 00:00am as many were caught disobeying the new rules and measures that were set out by the President, with many youth even still resorting to drinking and still partying in pubs that still remained open irrespective of the ban on alcohol.The country is facing difficulties with getting members of the youth to take the pandemic serious, as instead these individuals see the lockdown as a holiday and as an opportunity to celebrate.
The South African Police Services(SAPS) , with the assistance of The Metro Police, The South African National Defense Force(SANDF) and private security companies are tasked with duty of patrolling streets within all the provinces in the nation, for the purpose of ensuring that the new rules and measures are adhered to.
The only persons who are considered essential staff members are the only people who are permitted outside of their homes as they play a pivotal role in ensuring that essential goods are made available to all citizens as needed. The President mentioned a list of the essential as follows:
- Emergency personnel – EMS
- South African Police Services
- South African National Defense Force – SANDF
- Registered & Reputable Private Security Companies
- Health Workers
- Banking Services
- Telecommunications Companies
- Supermarkets, Registered Spaza Shops & Wholesalers
- Petrol stations
- Transportation for essential staff.
All citizens are advised to contact the police services with urgent should any persons be seen breaking the rules set out by the president and engaging in activities that are currently prohibited.
Individuals that are apprehended during the lockdown period may be detained for a duration of up to 30 days.