WATCH | Only few signs of a lockdown in Hillbrow as residents loiter and move about


It was Day Six of South Africa's 21-day lockdown on Wednesday, but it seemed to be a normal mid-week afternoon in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

The suburb is situated in the province which has the most coronavirus infections since the outbreak hit the country in March and the lockdown is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

In terms of lockdown rules, residents who do not need to be out for essential work or to buy essential supplies, have to stay home.

But it was the usual hustle and bustle in Hillbrow on Wednesday where many people loitered on pavements, as if they had nowhere to go, and others moved about.

Residents appeared to make no effort to practise social distancing.

Queues of people waiting to buy groceries, collect grants and use banks, snaked along pavements.

There were only a few visible signs that a lockdown was in effect.

Some residents were inside their apartments and peered outside through laundry hanging from their balconies.

Residents of a Hillbrow building observe from the

Residents of a Hillbrow building observe from the balconies as a police operation is conducted to make sure everyone observes the country's lockdown.  (Marco Longari, AFP)

Playgrounds were empty as children played in tiny courtyards instead, and the spiky, black gates of churches and buildings normally accessible to the public were closed.

Uniformed police officers drove around the area in unmarked cars 

In Louis Botha Avenue, a police officer grabbed the arm of a pedestrian and shoved him into the back of small car along with five others – something which is not allowed under the regulations – before making his way to the driver's side of the vehicle.

On a street corner, the army prepared to patrol through the streets.

Huddling together, without practising social distancing, they strapped on their guns, drank water and energy drinks and fixed their hats before they scattered off, shouting at passers-by every now and then.

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