15,000 lockdown arrests in Gauteng as cops seize booze, drugs at roadblocks

23 April 2020 - 14:50
By Iavan Pijoos and Nonkuleko Njilo
Police pull over cars at a roadblock on the N4 towards Pretoria on Friday last week.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times Police pull over cars at a roadblock on the N4 towards Pretoria on Friday last week.

Many of the lawbreakers bust at various roadblocks in Gauteng during the lockdown had liquor, drugs and unlicensed firearms, provincial police said on Thursday.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela said the more than 15,000 arrests had been made in the province during lockdown.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an operation to crack down on non-compliance with lockdown regulations in Soweto. He was accompanied by community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.

Mawela said police, soldiers  and provincial metro police set up 11 roadblocks on the main routes leading to neighbouring provinces.

“We have turned back a lot of vehicles of those who were trying to go to neighbouring provinces without permits. They were issued fines and sent back,” he said.

In many of these cases, he said officers had found drugs, liquor and unlicensed firearms.

Joburg metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said officers in Johannesburg had recovered stolen and hijacked vehicles during the roadblocks.

In the second week of the lockdown, the number of cars stopped at roadblocks across the country nearly doubled, from 17,559 to 29,738.

Earlier this week, a man was arrested at a roadblock in Gauteng when he attempted to “smuggle” his girlfriend to Mpumalanga. A man was also caught in possession of a SANDF uniform in a JMPD check on Wednesday.

A traffic official and an SANDF member were killed at roadblocks in Gauteng.