Law enforcement on high alert this festive season

Road traffic officers and other members of law enforcement agencies will be out in full force this festive season to ensure compliance with the law and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic on our roads.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster comprised of Police Minister Bheki Cele, Justice and Correctional Minister, Ronald Lamola and Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thandi Modise briefed the media this morning on the state of readiness for the festive season.

The cluster outlined measures underway to ensure a safer festive season in South Africa.

At Thursday’s briefing, Police Minister Bheki Cele said that during this time of the year, the safety of all road users, including pedestrians, becomes their biggest concern.

“We appeal to all motorists to drive safely and courteously to ensure the safety of other road users, including pedestrians on our roads. Obey all rules of the road by, amongst other things, maintaining the legal speed limit, and refraining from drinking and driving or texting while driving. Road safety is everyone’s business and together we can make our roads safer,” Cele said.

On the general safety of people, Cele said that by working closely with community structures such as community policing forums, civil-society organisations, traditional leaders and faith-based organisations, the cluster continues to create the interface between government and communities.

“These structures continue to strengthen our crime-prevention measures within communities. Our criminal justice system continues to work hard in ensuring that those who violate the laws of the land are made to account and face the full might of the law,” he said.

Safety of children, and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF)

Cele said that during this period of merriment, police are often inundated with cases of missing children, especially at coastal beaches.

The cluster has urged parents not to leave children unattended near swimming pools or beaches.

“Avoid tragedies by being vigilant when at pools, beaches or near water and ensure that children wear the necessary safety equipment when using swimming pools or beaches.”

Cele said that all law-enforcement agencies, especially police officers, will be on high alert to respond swiftly to incidents of GBVF.

“We appeal to the men of our nation to take a stand and play their part in ending the scourge of violence against women and children. Report all perpetrators of GBVF to the police without delay,” he said.

Ports of entry

The Minister said that the Department of Home Affairs will share information on the operating hours at ports of entry, which have been extended by two hours to ensure proper services during this busy period.

Working with law-enforcement agencies, the department will be on high alert for any illegal activities at ports of entry, including preventing the potential influx of undocumented foreign nationals and smuggling of stolen goods.

COVID-19

With the COVID-19 infections growing daily following the discovery of the Omicron variant, South Africans are urged to go out in their numbers and vaccinate to keep themselves and loved ones safe this festive season.

The cluster has reiterated that vaccines remain the best defence against COVID-19 by reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation or even death.Statistics have shown that most of the people infected with the virus who are admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated.

“Ensure that you get your jab before you socialise, visit relatives or go on vacation this December. While COVID-19 vaccines still remain effective in protecting us from developing a severe illness, non-pharmaceutical protective measures remain important, such as wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose, maintaining social distancing and regularly washing our hands with water and soap or using a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser.”

Citizens are also advised to avoid large gatherings such as festivals or parties, and only gather in small groups in well ventilated areas.

Former President Zuma’s parole

Meanwhile, the cluster has noted the recent ruling by the North Gauteng High Court nullifying and setting aside the decision of the national commissioner on granting medical parole to former President Jacob Zuma.

Minister Cele said that they have noted the Department of Correctional Services’s decision to appeal the judgment.

“As the cluster, we wish to reiterate our confidence in our constitutional democracy that provides that all people are equal before the law.

“The separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary are the bedrock of our Constitution, and our courts function without fear or favour as they entrench the rule of law. Any form of recourse must follow appropriate channels within the confines of the law,” he said.

The JCPS cluster remains committed to upholding the laws of the country and has assured the nation that working with communities, they will ensure the safety of the public during this festive period.

“Lastly, let us vaccinate, wear our masks and avoid big gatherings during this festive period,” said Cele.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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