207 arrested in Easter weekend crackdown

ON WATCH: A collaborative effort by the South African Police Service, provincial traffic service, the Chris Hani District Municipality and the Government Communication Information System conducted an Easter weekend operation roadblock on the N6 Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

An Easter law enforcement operation conducted in the Chris Hani District had 207 suspects arrested on various charges, including drunken driving and contravening lockdown regulations.

According to a report issued by police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni, the operations were carried out in various areas including Ngcobo, Komani, Ilinge, Cofimvaba, Sterkstroom and Elliot. “107 suspects were arrested for contravention of the disaster management Act, 94 for drunken driving, three for driving without drivers’ licences, two for selling liquor without licences and three for drug possession. All arrested suspects appeared (in court) in their respective areas last week.”

Speaking to The Rep at a roadblock on the N6 near the stock theft unit at the start of the operation, Chris Hani District Commissioner Major General Funeka Siganga said they took a multi-disciplinary approach to monitor unlawful conduct which involved drug transportation, unlicensed firearms and Covid-19 compliance. “We have a responsibility to ensure that public safety and order is maintained. Whoever is doing wrong has to account. People are learning out of this and are beginning to cooperate. We still have challenges. We are not doing this because we want to take steps against people, we want to ensure they are law abiding. We feel honoured to have the Komani Vispol commander, Colonel Loyiso Ngalo, to form part in this operation. We learn a lot from him,” she said.

As traffic volumes surged and vehicles were searched, a drunk driver was arrested and a number of road users given fines for non-compliance. Komani Traffic chief provincial officer Simphiwe Kajama said high accident rates were expected during the Easter weekend. “We have taken note that these accidents happen mostly at night and in the early hours of the morning and when we analyse the cause it is due to high speed and driving under the influence of alcohol. Innocent people lose their lives because of people who do not obey the law. We came in full force and people will be brought to book.”

Chris Hani District Municipality mayor Wongama Gela, who was present, noted some improvement in that the public abided by regulations, adding that there were those who complied only when approached by officials. “ The presence of the district municipality in these operations is in line with two important decisions. The first relates to the resuscitation of the district development model by the president where district municipalities must play a role in coordinating the work of government. The second is the establishment of a joint operations committee. We discuss issues that relate to the fight against Covid-19. This arrangement assists in reinforcing regulations in terms of Covid-19 and general laws governing how motorists should conduct themselves.”

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