Twenty-nine officials have tested positive for Covid-19 at Cape Town’s largest police station, according to a reliable source.
The affected members are quarantined.
On Sunday April 26, the first officer’s test results came back and he was informed he tested positive for the virus at 8am, which was two hours into his shift. According to the source, the member was sent home and the station immediately shut down and members were sent for testing.
By the middle of last week, another 14 members had tested positive, comprising virtually the entire Sunday day shift of April 26.
A source said that the member who tested positive could have infected other members on board a police bus which transported members to the station and back home during the lockdown, or during the early morning parade that Sunday morning.
Police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa could not provide TimesLIVE with the official figures for the positive cases.
“The SAPS was advised of Covid-19 related cases at Cape Town central police station but we cannot provide figures as members get tested by external service providers,” said Potelwa. “The building housing the police station is being decontaminated. Community service centre operations are at a mobile unit outside the station,” she said.
On April 26, the station commander, Brig Hansia Hansraj, informed community policing forums that the station’s operations would be amended while the main building was decontaminated.
In the WhatsApp message sent out to the CPF groups in the Cape Town central precinct, Hansraj assured them that despite the “disastrous times” for the station and its staff, service delivery would continue.
“Let’s pray for our station during this disastrous time. Our members and families are facing trying times, but we will continue to execute our task at hand. You will be informed on any changes of current status. Thanks for all the messages of support and prayer,” read the message.
According to a source, many of the members who initially tested positive also lived in poorer communities such as Khayelitsha and were potentially more exposed to the virus.
The station was being run out of four kiosks while the main building was being decontaminated.
The source said all the members who had tested positive were self-isolated.
Cape Town central is the largest police station in the Cape Town metro, with 510 members working there.
By Aron Hyman – HeraldLIVE