Despite the national lockdown, crime is still prevalant in the country with authorities concerned about gender based violence.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said during the first six days of the national 21 day lockdown, police received more than 87 000 gender-based violence complaints. He said one of the cases included a case of rape, where a police official was arrested for allegedly raping his wife. The police also arrested more than 2 200 people around the country for breaching lockdown regulations. More than 700 of the arrests came from the Western Cape.
Addressing a digital press conference yesterday, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the Western Cape government had asked the provincial liquor authority to make sure that anybody violating the lockdown liquor sales ban be given the full R100 000 fine, and their stock confiscated. Over the past week, Metro police and SAPS made several busts of alcohol, where criminals had been found to be either transporting or selling alcohol.
The Western Cape Education Department said it has recorded seven cases of burglary and vandalism at schools since the lockdown, despite security measures. Chumisa Primary School in Khayelitsha became the latest institution to be ransacked by criminals since schools closed two weeks ago due to covid-19 lockdown.
However, Fritz hopes to recruit individual neighbourhood watch members to protect schools, particularly those around taverns, because they are being vandalized during the lockdown.
Fritz shared his concern about complaints against the police enforcing the lockdown, and seven law enforcement officers have been suspended following complaints about their conduct.
“I can’t stand by as the MEC for community of safety in the Western Cape and see the kind of footage you see on Whatsapp of police brutality, the one thing that people cannot take away from you is your human dignity,” stated Fritz.
Fritz urged residents to report all of the abuses they endure but further than that, he urged residents to stay inside the comfort of their homes.
“We can’t emphasis the point of just staying at home. Don’t take this virus for a joke because when it hits you it is going to hit you hard,” urged Fritz.
Senior Researcher at the Centre of Criminology at UCT, Simon Howell said in terms of alcohol related crimes there has been a decrease since the start of the lockdown. However, Gender Based Violence (GBV) has seen an adverse effect.
“Your contact crime of a domestic nature have more than likely gone up because of the environment that everyone finds themselves in now,” said Howell.
Howell said that crimes within the lockdown are opportunistic.
“On the one hand there maybe a lot of officials but they are focused specifically on the roads or on specific areas within the City, so people see that businesses are unoccupied and that presents an opportunity,” stated Howell. VOC
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