Lockdown violation arrests rise
By Mashudu Netsianda
The number of people arrested countrywide for violating lockdown regulations has increased to 7 385 with law enforcement agents continuing to target motorists following a significant rise in traffic in Bulawayo’s central business district.
Besides arresting those deliberately breaching the lockdown, police are mounting more roadblocks and have tightened vetting of motorists and Zupco passengers.
On Monday police said they had arrested more than 5 700 and the number has since risen to 7 385.
Motorists and bus passengers have to produce exemption letters issued to staff in essential services or give an explanation that satisfies the police at a roadblock.
Those unable to produce the letter or a satisfactory explanation are turned back and told to go home.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the latest arrests.
“The ZRP confirms that since the onset of the national lockdown which commenced on March 30, a total of 7 385 people have been arrested for violating national lockdown measures through contravening section 4 (1) (c) of SI 83/20, section 4 (1) (a) of SI 83/20 and section 5 (1) of SI 83/20 and the Miscellaneous Offences Act,” he said.
“We urge members of the public to continue taking heed of Government lockdown measures to enable security services to maintain law and order effectively.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said people were arrested for various offences, including operating shebeens, traffic-related offences, operating businesses without exemptions, while those caught moving aimlessly make the highest number of culprits.
“We are urging the public to comply with every measure and the directive from the Government meant to protect everyone’s life. We are here to enforce the directive and those who choose to ignore will be arrested until there is total compliance,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi also expressed concern over some individuals who were abusing their exemptions and warned that those people risked losing the privilege.
Yesterday, law enforcement agents at Bulawayo’s roadblocks mounted on all roads leading to the central business district, tightened the screening of people and several people in both Zupco and private cars were turned away for failing to give satisfactory reasons.
A Chronicle news crew observed that yesterday, there were few motorists and pedestrians roaming the streets in Bulawayo’s central business district.
Noticeably, even long winding of queues of people at shops, which had become a common feature, had disappeared.
During the shutdown, people are supposed to be confined to their homes and may only leave to buy basic necessities at a supermarket or food retail store, or fuel or gas at a fuel or gas retail outlet, within a radius not exceeding five kilometres or the nearest establishment if those within the radius are closed.
However, only one person per household is permitted to leave the house for the above purposes. The Chronicle