Roadblocks during lockdown – what you need to know

National News/ 30 May 2020, 11:46am / TI Reporter

Law enforcement officials during lockdown roadblock: Image supplied 

Bloemfontein: South Africans who want to travel between provinces during the course of lockdown alert level 3 must be able to produce a valid permit and could be subjected to Covid-19 testing, MyBroadband reports.

The publication cited two briefings held on 28 May from various ministers who form part of the National Coronavirus Command Council.

During a briefing from the social cluster, minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma explained under which circumstances persons may cross provincial borders.

“The limitation on movements across provinces and now between metropolitans and districts and hotspots may be prohibited, except for persons travelling for the purpose of starting work, moving to a new residence or caring for an immediate family member,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

In addition, Dlamini-Zuma said attending a funeral or travelling for work or business will continue to be allowed, as was permitted under level 4.

She also indicated travelling will be allowed between districts and provinces for pupils, students, and teachers who have to travel to places of learning such as schools and universities, which are set to start reopening on 1 June.

She explained the government had previously observed that COVID-19 transmission occurred after people moved between districts, which was why the measures were still necessary.

Those who will be travelling for the purposes stated above must possess the necessary permit as prescribed by regulations published by COGTA in the Government Gazette.

Therefore, the following persons are eligible to travel between provinces, but only with the required permit:

  • Funeral attendants and persons transporting mortal remains.
  • Students or pupils travelling to attend school or other educational institutions.
  • Drivers who are transporting students or pupils to attend school or other educational institutions.
  • People travelling for work or to return to work.
  • People travelling for medical treatment.
  • People travelling to care for an immediate family member.

Click herefor the various permits required to travel between provinces and districts for purposes allowed under level 3 lockdown.

Roadblock rules

And while it is uncertain what role the police and army will play going forward, they will likely still play some role in ensuring people comply to lockdown regulations, said managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert.

He noted that there have been occasions where officials abuse their power, the majority are simply doing their job to reduce the strain that a massive amount of infections will place on the country.

Herbert said that if you encounter a roadblock during this time, do your part to ensure officers can do their job with as little hassle as possible.

“If you need to go grocery shopping, go to the shop that is closest to you and minimise your time on the road. If you do you encounter a roadblock on one of these errands, simply explain what you’re doing and don’t immediately become confrontational.

“If you are travelling to work, make sure your employer has provided you with a Form Two permit and keep it in your car at all times. Do not abuse the permits to do things that you shouldn’t either.

“Additionally, make sure you follow other rules set out for travel: limit car occupants to two, wear a face mask if you didn’t isolate with your passengers or if an officer approaches your car.”

Unfortunately, social media abounds with videos of people who appeared to be mistreated by officials.

“In some instances, it could be true but in other instances the video shows one side of the confrontation. Ultimately, the majority of officials are upstanding and law-abiding and should you not give them reason to mistreat, you will not be mistreated in the majority of instances,” said Herbert.

“If, however, you are immediately confrontational or annoyed with the restrictions, the chance of it ending badly are higher.

“Just like any other person, these officials are simply doing their job. If you provide information and the documents quickly and efficiently, the interaction will be over quickly. Certain responses will inevitably elicit certain reactions,” Herbert said.

If you remain suspicious of authorities, there are certain things you can do to safeguard yourself without conflict, he said.

“You are within your right to request identification from the officer at the start. You are also within your right to film the interaction, however, this could change the atmosphere between yourselves. Rather consider having your camera ready in case things go bad but avoid greeting an official with a camera in their face.”

Herbert said that if you feel threatened or discriminated against at a roadblock, you can call 10111.

“Do not lose your temper and remain calm at all times. Remain compliant with the officer, even if you feel you are being treated unfairly. You can lodge a complaint with the IPID at a later stage. If you become aggressive, an officer could arrest you. If you can avoid this altogether and raise the issue later through formal channels, the whole incident will be much less stressful and even traumatic,” Herbert said.

“While you can’t control what a police officer does, you can control your reaction. Remain calm and don’t incite the situation especially if it is already volatile,” he said.



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