17 Mpumalanga police stations have been closed since July 1 due to Covid-19 cases

Mandla Khoza Freelance journalist
Tonga police station is one of those in Mpumalanga that had to be shut down due to Covid-19.
Tonga police station is one of those in Mpumalanga that had to be shut down due to Covid-19.
Image: Mandla Khoza

At least 17 Mpumalanga police stations have been temporarily closed since July 1 due to staff members testing positive for Covid-19. 

Spokesperson of the police in Mpumalanga, Brig Leonard Hlathi, said members of the public must not worry about alternative ways to keep the public protected as all the time alternative points for the community to be serviced are always provided. 

Some police stations in Witbank, Ermelo and Middelburg had to be closed twice since the lockdown started as other members tested positive in the same station. 

“The positive cases we have at our police stations do not imply that there’s coronavirus at our stations, but the community should understand that police are part of the community. So, the members are infected elsewhere then unfortunately, they must report at work unknowingly that they are positive because this virus does not show immediately.

"It normally takes about 24 hours for the whole process of decontaminating a police station. All the members who are found to have tested positive are then handled by the department of health and all direct contacts are advised to self-isolate for a specified period and also go for testing for Covid-19,” said Hlathi said. 

Hlathi said in all instances, the police management is always ready to move equipments to another location so that the public can get help. 

“When a police station, unit or section or both affected, either we close the station building, unit or section while we move our services elsewhere. The management has a contingency plan for all the stations in the province and immediately when a particular police facility is affected, we know what to do,” said Hlathi. 

Members of the public are complaining that they don't feel safe as they have to reach the known police stations to get directions to new and temporary premises where the stations are operating.

“I heard that the Tonga police station has been closed because of Covid-19 positive cases, but I needed to have my documents certified so, I had to reach the gates of the station and that was when I was directed to a new place where the station is now.  But they tried; it’s just that we, as the public, don't know the new contact numbers,” said Themba Sifundza from Tonga village.

The police stations that had to be temporarily close due to members testing positive for Covid-19 in Mpumalanga are since July 1 are Ermelo police station, Piet Retief, Delmas, Witbank, Sandra police station situated at Emalahleni, Volksrust police station, Tweefontein in Kwamhlanga, Vosman at Emalahleni, Amersfoort police station in Amsterdam, Delmas’s detectives unit, Tonga police station near Komatipoort, Hazyview, Ermelo’s family violence and children protection unit and the Trichardt police station in Secunda.

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