Army finally deployed in unco-operative PMB

2020-04-03 14:00
The SANDF has arrived in Pietermaritzburg. This photo was taken near the Central Pietermaritzburg police station yesterday.

The SANDF has arrived in Pietermaritzburg. This photo was taken near the Central Pietermaritzburg police station yesterday.

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The army, it seems, has finally made its way to Pietermaritzburg — and this is due to reports of non-compliance with the lockdown rules in the city centre, northern suburbs, Edendale and other dense areas.

On Tuesday, The Witness reported that there was no army deployment to Pietermaritzburg, as yet, as the city then was not considered as a “volatile, high crime and unrest risk” area.

Senior local police officers then had confirmed to The Witness that Pietermaritzburg, according to their crime statistics and general everyday feedback to the provincial Joint Operations Centre (JOC), was not considered a high-risk area and could easily be managed by the police force available and therefore there was no need for the army to be deployed.

But the continued large crowds of people gathering at shopping centres, supermarkets and other retail centres, the above-average number of people leaving their homes without permits, continuous social gatherings, and “back-door” operation of bottle stores and taverns in the city and overloading in taxis, has prompted police officials to enlist the help of the army.

“We gave people a chance to do their shopping on Friday as we felt that many people were working on Thursday and did not get a chance to do so.

“And then on Saturday, it was the same, because it was just after pay-day.

“On Monday and Tuesday, we had an excessive amount of people out and about because of social grants and now that amount of people moving around has not stopped. People are not taking the regulations seriously,” said a police source.

The source said the city centre, particularly in Church, Retief, Pietermaritz and East streets, was “too busy”.

The army will work together with the SAPS in manning road-blocks across the city and doing patrols throughout the city and suburbs.

SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the deployment of the army was totally based on the needs of the SAPS in each area.

“The army can be anywhere — as and when required. If our police officers believe there is a need for them, they will avail themselves to monitor that area and ensure compliance. The needs are based on analysing statistics and information coming out of each operational centre,” said Naidoo.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  army

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