- The Democratic Alliance has condemned Police Minister Bheki Cele for his strong stance on the beach ban
- Members of the SA National Defence Force have been called in to assist the police in patrolling beaches along the Garden Route
- However, the opposition party insists that the extra muscle could be used to tackle far more serious issues than rouge sunbathers
The Democratic Alliance has lashed out against Police Minister Bheki Cele after it emerged that the SANDF will be roped in to help the SA Police Service.
The political party pointed out that, even before the Covid-19 crisis, SA suffered from an extremely high crime rate especially in the Cape Flats:
"It is under circumstances such as this that Minister Cele chooses to prioritise the chasing down of surfers on the beach and the confrontation of sunbathers and joggers on promenades.
"The DA has for years requested the deployment of the SANDF in gang-ridden areas of the Cape Flats but these requests have always fallen on deaf ears. This is indicative of Minister Cele’s skewed priorities."
DA leader John Steenhuisen questioned the complacency on National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole:
"The SAPS is accountable to the minister but not under his command and it is worrying that the Commissioner seems to have handed Minister Cele the reins without so much as a push-back about the way his men and women in blue are being deployed to police petty crimes while neglecting priority areas such as gang warfare, farm attacks and gender-based violence."
The opposition party also questioned why the SANDF, with a limited budget and less than half the manpower, was needed to bolster the SAPS:
"It is becoming increasingly clear that our national security personnel are being misused in order to serve the authoritarian agendas of ANC ministers hell-bent on controlling rather than governing."
Steenhuisen vowed that the DA will continue to fight for an 'honest and professional police service committed to keeping our communities safe and criminal-free'.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed that the South African National Defence Force has been called in to help authorities keep bathers away from Western Cape beaches along the Garden Route.
The minister had been visiting the area on Wednesday when he noted that people are still visiting the local beaches and giving the cops a had time despite the current lockdown ban:
"There were complaints of non-compliance, especially after the declaration that beaches are no-go areas. I must say that in the West Coast we found that compliance is much better with the exception of Langebaan, where people were still surfing and all that. It's unfortunate that we had to make some few arrests there."
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