Saps confident policing won’t be affected by COVID-19 infections at stations

Several police stations countrywide have had to be decontaminated after members tested positive for COVID-19.

An SANDF soldier and a police officer check on a member of the public during the lockdown in Woodstock, Cape Town on 27 March 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The police service said policing won't be affected where stations have to be shut due to coronavirus infections.

Several police stations countrywide have had to be decontaminated after members tested positive for COVID-19.

Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidu said the vast majority of COVID-19 cases amongst members had been recorded in the Western Cape.

“Of the total number in the country the Western Cape accounts for 70% - 75% of the number. It is worrying, so much so that national management made a trip to the Western Cape to make sure that all the measures that were designed are indeed being put into place.”

Over the weekend, several stations had to be closed for deep cleaning due to infection concerns.

This comes as no surprise, as the province is the epicentre of the coronavirus in the country, accounting for about 62% of all cases.

Naidu said as soon as they learn of a member's positive status, the station's immediately evacuated and disinfected, and service delivery does not stop during this period.

“We ensure that service delivery continues by establishing temporary facility, more often than not what we call a mobile client management centre, within the vicinity of the station depending on how big the premises is.”

The South African Police Union (Sapu) recently accused government of not doing enough to protect officers from COVID-19.

But Naidu said members are well equipped with personal protective equipment.

“We started as far back as 14 March when the national management gave instruction for the procurement of PPE and they have been coming in continuously.”