Daily Dispatch

Security beefed up as Eastern Cape beachgoers defy Covid-19 rules

- BHONGO JACOB bhongoj@dispatch.co.za

The two metros in the Eastern Cape have deployed law enforcemen­t officials, including soldiers, to ensure the national lockdown regulation forbidding people from going to the beach is adhered to.

The move by the Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay metros comes after unusually hot weather saw scores flocking to beaches last weekend.

A social media video purportedl­y taken in the Bay, shows people flocking to the beach, despite beaches being closed during level three of the lockdown.

The Dispatch visited a few beaches in BCM in the past two weeks and people were seen walking their dogs, some without wearing masks. The Eastern Cape had 81,014 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 2,033 deaths and 74,004 recoveries at the time of going to print on Friday.

BCM spokespers­on Samkelo Ngwenya told the Dispatch that the metro had set up a team involved with the maintenanc­e and oversight of BCM beaches to assist law enforcemen­t officials in patrolling around shores.

“We have received reports that in areas like the Nahoon and Bonza beaches, locals are walking their dogs and doing all sorts of recreation­al things that are not in line with the regulation­s.

“We are aware that in terms of these regulation­s, fishing is allowed and various other sporting activities and we say that people have taken advantage of that grey area, and as such, the matter was discussed at the command centre and decided that this will be monitored very closely,” he said.

Bay municipal spokespers­on Mthubanzi Mniki said the army had been roped in to assist in dealing with transgress­ors.

“We have noticed such transgress­ions. “Through the Nelson Mandela Bay Covid19 command council, we have a safety and security cluster that includes the SAPS, the SANDF, metro police and municipal disaster management department that conducts awareness and enforcemen­t of Covid-19 regulation­s.”

Port St Johns municipal spokespers­on Phelokazi Pellem said: “Recently we have noticed a few visits to the beach by local communitie­s, in particular to the famous Second Beach but the visits have been for viewing the beach and not bathing.

“The municipali­ty has security patrols. This effort has been reinforced by the interventi­on [of the] SANDF and as such the visits have ceased.”

Mquma municipal spokespers­on Loyiso Mpalatshan­e said their Covid-19 awareness campaigns had paid off as there were no reports of people visiting their beaches.

“However, ad hoc patrols are conducted by our capable and competent law enforcemen­t officials, assisted by the police.”

King Sabata Dalindyebo municipal spokespers­on Sonwabo Mampoza said residents had adhered to regulation­s by staying away from beaches in its jurisdicti­on.

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