Lockdown: Eastern, Western Cape authorities ramp up measures after motorists try to head home for long weekend

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Provincial traffic authorities on both sides of the Eastern and Western Cape borders have ramped up efforts to stop motorists moving illegally between the neighbouring territories.

Regulations to prevent travelling between provinces was introduced when President Cyril Ramaphosa instituted a lockdown last month until the end of April to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Motorists and taxi-drivers who “sneaked through”, past law enforcement agencies on the roads, have been slammed by Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela.

He reported: “I note with serious concern the number of mini-bus taxis who are not adhering to transport regulations and are travelling to, amongst others, the Eastern Cape during this Easter weekend.

“Some vehicles including taxis have bypassed main roads and have succeeded to sneak through to the Eastern Cape without permits,” Madikizela said.

Roadblocks had been established on major routes leaving the Western Cape, including at the Huguenot Tunnel, at Rawsonville and at Matjiesfontein – all on the N1 highway.

Madikizela said this had been in anticipation of people travelling to funerals in the Eastern Cape. This was legal. However, some had broken the rules.

“During these operations our officers found that some of the mini-bus taxis were not adhering to transport regulations. Many were overloaded and other passengers did not have the necessary documentation permitting them to be on the road,” he said.

Three more Covid-19 deaths in the Western Cape

The provincial Covid-19 death toll rose yesterday, according to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, who said: “Today, we are also saddened to announce another three deaths in the province - a 63-year-old male, a 79-year-old male and a 47-year-old male.

“This brings the total number of deaths in the Western Cape to six. We send our condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased at this difficult time.

“As of 00:01 on 10 April, 2020, we have a total of 545 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in the province.

“There are currently 31 people in hospital, with 12 being cared for in ICU.”

Winde had a stern plea to the public over the Easter weekend: “This weekend, many of our residents celebrate Easter. This is a time traditionally associated with families and friends coming together, which we are not able to do during this lockdown period.

"This is, however, also a time associated with selflessness and kindness and I call on all of our residents to keep this in mind this weekend, as we all work to stop the spread together. I call on everyone to continue to obey the rules of this lockdown over this long weekend and remind residents that the police, law enforcement and traffic services will be enforcing regulations out on our roads.”

- compiled by Murray Williams

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