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Police mull clamping vehicles

by Staff reporter
13 Apr 2020 at 08:03hrs | Views
POLICE will not turn away unbranded vehicles transporting essential service personnel at roadblocks but may soon clamp cars belonging to those defying lockdown orders. When the country effected the 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on March 30, being outdoors was banned except for essential services like seeking food and medication.

Roadblocks were set up to curtail unnecessary movements, especially into the central business district (CBD). However, a number of people continue to travel to the CBD willy nilly.

Some people beat roadblocks by disembarking from vehicles just before checkpoints and making their way into town on foot.

To clampdown on unnecessary movements, police have become strict at roadblocks. People deemed to be travelling for non-essential activities have been ordered to disembark from vehicles and return home while motorists have been asked to make U-turns.

As vehicle population continues to increase in city centres, police are mulling clamping and impounding vehicles belonging to people who would have violated the stay-at-home order.

The tightening of measures has affected essential service providers like journalists and doctors who said they have been turned away at roadblocks while driving unbranded or personal cars. Some doctors yesterday said police should clarify the position on unbranded vehicles. "This is an emergency situation. We are on call 24/7. On Saturday I was prohibited from proceeding past a roadblock at Sauerstown in Bulawayo because I was using my personal car to respond to an emergency call at work, although I had my pass showing that I'm an essential service provider. This is very inconvenient and unnecessary," said a doctor who asked not to be named for professional reasons.

A number of journalists have posted in media groups alleging police denied them permission to go past roadblocks, despite producing Press cards.
 
"They said we should be using a branded company car. Due to the nature of our work, media houses have many unbranded vehicles which are used to gather news when one has to be inconspicuous.

"Besides, most freelance journalists used personal vehicles in their line of work. At some roadblocks, police officers say the only recognised media house is ZBC and they refuse to let others through," posted a journalist in one group.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi advised members of the public to desist from abusing their cars and their work passes and exemption letters which are meant for official use only. He said there were numerous cases of people abusing work passes for non-work related activities. He advised essential services providers to wherever possible use branded company vehicles and pool cars to decongest the roads and the central business district. He said media practitioners were free to use their Press cards, which were enough proof of being a frontline worker without further supporting documents.

Asst Comm Nyathi said if someone had a pass, it did not matter what vehicle they were using.

Police in Bulawayo also warned the motoring public to observe lockdown requirements. Bulawayo Police Spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube warned those in the habit of parking under trees and to socialise and drink at shopping centres that they will be arrested.

"We note with concern that some motorists are going up and down as if all is normal. One would think the lockdown is for pedestrians who need public transport.

"We therefore warn all motorist who are abusing their cars that they face arrest and that their vehicles may be impounded," said Inspector Ncube.

Source - chronicle

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