Police clamp down on lockdown rule-breakers

Police in Bulawayo, Friday, launched a new operation codenamed ‘Udingani Etown’ (What business do you have in town) to clamp down on residents who are violating lockdown regulations.

The operation is meant to control the movement of people within the city centre at a time when citizens have been ordered to stay at home as a preventative measure against the spread of Covid-19. 

Speaking during a media briefing on Friday, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said the lockdown order was not being adhered to.  

“Bulawayo province is not spared from Covid-19 pandemic and it is not spared from Covid-19 regulations that are aimed at reducing or fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, people are told and have been guided to stay home only those with exemption letters, only those providing essential services, those that are only coming into town for pharmacies and to meet some doctors are allowed, however, we have noted with concern that a lot of people were violating these lockdown regulations,” he said.

“As a result, Bulawayo province got into a strategy and came up with an operation code named ‘Etown Udingani’ meaning what do you want in town, this implies that all motorists that are coming into our Central Business District are stopped at checkpoint by traffic police officers that are doing routine checks to check the purpose of coming into town and not neglecting all other defaults and traffic offences.”

He said 95 vehicles were impounded on Friday and will undergo vigorous checks before they are released back to their owners..

“As a result, this operation started today and 95 vehicles have been impounded as we speak, they are all impounded here and are to undergo some checks and vigorous experiments and experiences and the owners of those Kombis are supposed to pay some fines because we have noted that prosecuting or fining the drivers does not give us any progress because the owners will be benefitting,” said Inspector Ncube.

“95 is inclusive, Kombis are at least 14, a number of Honda fits, some pickups , a lot of vehicles even some trucks that were arrested for violating Covid-19 regulations, some were found with some defects which are not allowing them to be on the road and others they have expired licences , they are suppose to have maybe paid by end of December, some were even on their phone calls whilst driving, some were parked in the centre of the  road, remaining stationary, there are a number of offences that these people have been arrested for.”

Inspector Ncube added that they are also dealing with an influx of illegal foreign currency dealers into the city centre.

“We have of late experienced some incomings of money changers ‘Osiphatheleni’ but our operations I tell you, we are full on ground, all commanders, all members , all our police officers are in full force into the CBD and we expect sanity,” he said.

The police spokesperson also warned residents to stay at home and avoid congregating at their local grocery shops.  

“We are warning all members of the public not to come into town if it is not necessary because you risk being arrested whether you are walking or driving, we are saying stay home”.

“Let me take this opportunity to say even those in Western areas, by saying you have an allowance of travelling within your 5km radius, it means you are only going there for the purpose of purchasing or buying some food not that you should be gathered outside your houses, in total defiance of these lockdown regulations, we are saying only if it is necessary for you to go to the shops, not because the shop is within 5km you go there and spend the whole day standing and doing nothing, that is a defiance of lockdown regulations,” said Inspector Ncube.

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