President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially deployed members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to support the police throughout the 21-day national lockdown that will come into effect on midnight Thursday.
He earlier announced that the country’s number of confirmed cases now stands at 927. This is 225 more than the ones reported on Wednesday.
The lockdown will restrict South Africans to their homes until the 16th of April. Only essential service workers will be allowed to go to their places of work while others will only be able to go out to shop for essential items, access health services and in emergency situations.
Ramaphosa was addressing the army in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief at the Doornkop Army Base in Soweto.
“This is not a moment for skop and donner. This is not a moment for skiet and donner. This is a moment to be supportive to our people. I, therefore, order you to go out and execute this mission with great success. Thank you very much,” says Ramaphosa.
Sociologist at the University of Stellenbosch, Professor Lindy Heinecken, says years of under-funding of the army may hamper efforts to enforce the lockdown. She says the army is not properly equipped to deal with humanitarian deployment and maintenance of public law.
Ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster have once again urged the public to adhere to new regulations.
During the lockdown, people will be confined to their homes unless they are performing essential services.
Movements will be allowed for people collecting a social grant or seeking medical help or collecting chronic medication.
Different ministers have since informed the nation about government measures that will be put in place during the lockdown.
According to the government, only essential services will be allowed during this lockdown.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says public transport would only be available from 5am and 9am, and 4pm and 8pm.
However, the minister has emphasised that buses and trains will not be allowed to transport people.
He has added that taxis would be allowed to ferry essential services workers and consumers to shops, but under strict and controlled measures that observe social distancing to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Uber, Bolt and metered taxis would also be allowed to operate, under strict and controlled measures as well.
Workers, who have been categorised as essential services, will be allowed to travel in private vehicles under strict measures.
These measures include that a vehicle certified to carry four passengers will be allowed to carry one person only, while a vehicle licensed to carry up to 8 passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of 3 passengers.
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