POPCRU on the impact of Coronavirus on the Criminal Justice Cluster

As we are currently going through a period we have never experienced before as a country, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted and welcomes the announced interventions by government in putting necessary measures to ensure the curb of the spreading of Coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19.

We also welcome the speedy commitment by the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to immediately implement precautionary measures that would limit the impact this pandemic is likely to have on the work of our men and women in blue.  By implementing the stipulated protocols which include, among others, instructions for Provincial Commissioners to ensure all stations and holding cells are equipped with disinfectants, all washing basins be provided with soap and hand paper towels, masks and disposable gloves are made available to all officers, we are confident that these will positively contribute to limiting the spread of the virus.

It is of importance that these commitments are followed to the latter because within this criminal justice cluster, most requirements are physical contact with suspects, injured people within crime scenes, and with communities.

We would like to equally urge the Department of Justice and Corrections minister to urgently find alternative measures of ensuring our overcrowded and understaffed correctional centres do not become sources of the spread of this virus. It is simply not enough to stop visits to these centres when there have long before the outbreak been dire challenges that have seen the continuous stabbings and killing of officials without being addressed. The situation in our correctional centres has long deteriorated, and new measures need to be considered.

We also urge our traffic officials to act with caution on the roads when carrying out their duties, especially in instances where motorists are stopped for various possible offences.

We would also like to urge members of the community to take extra caution and ensure that they are fully protected at all times by washing their hands with soap and water, or frequently sanitise.

Social distancing is particularly important at this time, and we urge members of the community to avoid crowded places and abide by the measures outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa in dealing with Covid-19.

We are currently engaging all our structures through our available platforms in raising awareness as the best way to fight against this virus, and will support such other initiatives across our different communities.

During this challenging period, we will be working hard to ensure the safety of our police, traffic, correctional officers and the general public.

Members of the public are urged to contact the government WhatsApp line on 060 0123 456 or hotline on 080 00029 999 for further details on the Covid-19

Issued by POPCRU on 17/03/2020

For more information contact; Popcru Spokeperson Richard Mamabolo 066 135 4349