ALEX – Alexandra Police Station spokesperson Sergeant Simphiwe Mbatha confirmed loitering was a challenge in the township.
Alex councillors are concerned about the continuing disregard of the lockdown by some residents.
While they partly attributed the challenge to inadequate housing which causes overcrowding and poor health and hygiene, they are worried about the negative attitude and deliberate violation by some residents of government’s mitigation measures like physical distancing and remaining indoors enforced in their interest.
Ward 75 councillor Deborah Francisco said, “They seem oblivious to potential deaths likely to occur soon, from their conduct. They won’t have an excuse when that happens because we all know about the disease’s deadly effect from all platforms including social media.”
Francisco also mentioned the usual daytime noise from children in crowds playing on the street, groups congregated at most corners, pavements and others walking freely with some said to still shake hands. “I am worried about the results from a few who will spread the virus, and we will have no one else to blame but ourselves.
“They only disappear into alleys when they see patrolling soldiers and less so to the police, only to return and continue unperturbed after they pass.”
Francisco said some also gained access to alcohol and cigarettes despite the prohibition. “We don’t know where they get them from but understand they spend more than the normal prices.”
She said children also disregarded the measures. “We called the police to deal with a child who disrespected ward committee members who were urging him to be indoors.”
She proposed for loudhailers be used regularly to remind residents about the coronavirus.
xasperated Ward 76 councillor Moses Pandeka said, “The lockdown has limited effect and residents take advantage of limited police and army capacity to still move around as they please. They particularly, don’t obey the police but the soldiers, they hide from them, only to resume their activities once they pass.
“It’s like a cat and mouse game between them,” Pandeka said of those who play card games, street soccer and unconcerned pedestrians walking about.
He dismissed those who claimed ignorance about the virus saying even children knew about it when schools were closed prematurely and said he felt the president played his part when he explained about the virus’ serious effect. “It’s our turn to comply with the mitigation measures in order to save our own lives.”
Pandeka warned the sceptical that it will be too late to start complying when a relative or associate dies from the scourge. He urged those with elderly family members and immunity that is compromised by other ailments to adhere to the measures in place, as they are the most vulnerable.
Proportional representative councillor Shadrack Mkhonto sympathised with security agencies and urged for their numbers to be increased for them to have the required effect. “Their presence is not felt, resulting in some residents going to the shops several times a day to buy single items just to be out of their homes.”
Alexandra Police Station spokesperson Sergeant Simphiwe Mbatha confirmed the challenge of loitering saying it resulted from some residents emulating their counterparts. “We appeal for compliance as the measures are to save their own lives.”
He added that those arrested for violating mitigation measures appear in court and commended the lockdown for reducing other usual crimes.