'CT needs neighbourhood watches authorised to help enforce lockdown compliance'
Out of the 55 arrests made on the first day of the nationwide 21-day lockdown on Friday, just two occurred in Cape Town.
Africa Melane gets a report on Day One from the City's Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
Alderman Smith says their call centre was inundated with complaints about non-compliance.
Everyone was identifying people in their community who are not doing what they were supposed to and rightfully complaining about it.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
However, says Smith, Capetonians were largely cooperative although the pockets of resistance were hugely problematic.
I was thoroughly impressed by Athlone and Bonteheuwel residents who you could see were making a very good effort to stay indoors, but not unfortunately true in all communitiesJP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
Smith appealed to all the "sane" people of Cape Town to not make themselves part of the problem after seeing footage of people not adhering to the lockdown.
Keep on doing the right thing and allow us to concentrate our enforcement resources now on the pockets where people are not behaving so that we can get greater compliance there.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
Otherwise when we see footage of field hospitals with people lying on stretchers, those are going to be the faces you see on those stretchers soon.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
He says he's loath to single out the non-compliant communities as that causes unhappiness, but did describe some incidents.
But I can tell you, yesterday [Friday] police had physical altercations in communities where they were trying to remove people, including in Macassar, in Mitchells Plain, in Elsies River, Atlantis... In some cases they decided today is the day for a street party... and late last night...JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
Informal settlements also demonstrated some "massive" non-compliance, some due to mis-information.
Watch the video of Langa residents being told to move away from a barber shop still open below:
Smith says he understands the difficulty of confining yourself to an informal structure all day, but the appeal was for residents to limit themselves to just sitting adjacent to their shacks.
It ranges from people who genuinely don't understand how serious it is... I went out and spoke to people and explained to them... In some communities some people then called their kids inside, but in other portions we had individuals who stood there and insulted us and told us this is not apartheid. They said you can't make us go in our homes and that the disease doesn't affect black people.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
When you're in those particular pockets the number of people on the street is so large you don't know where to start. When we were standing on Winnie Mandela Boulevard I cast my eyes around... there were comfortably 400 people in visible range, now who would you start to arrest? And there are a lot of kids inbetween.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
During these next days we will have to concentrate on the pockets of non-compliance and try and get people indoors. SAPS and the military were doing their level best yesterday and you could see from the videos going around that people's patience is being pushed to the limitJP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
Smith says law enforcement's "constructive approach" would change on Day Two of the lockdown and they'd resort to arresting and fining culprits.
He's hopeful that government will relent and authorise the deputising of neighbourhood watches (50,000 people-strong) to help law enforcement ensure compliance.
Smith also discusses the progress of plans to house the Mother City's homeless community.
For more details, take a listen:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'CT needs neighbourhood watches authorised to help enforce lockdown compliance'
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