The IFP calls on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that stiffer punishment is meted out to individuals who engage in crime activities during this lockdown period.
This comes after six businesses near the popular Bangladesh Market in Chatsworth were destroyed on Monday night, after criminals looted the shops before setting it alight and at least 28 schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been the target of crime or damaged since the start of the national lockdown.
We are concerned that while the law enforcement agencies are hard at work trying by all means to protect us from the spread of Coronavirus and sometimes abusing their power, criminals are using lockdown as an opportunity to commit crimes by looting businesses and schools that are closed due to lockdown.
This current situation of lockdown doesn’t permit anyone to commit crime under the guise of blaming hunger and poverty. All of us we are affected by lockdown but that doesn’t mean that we must go out and commit crime, destroying other people’s property in the process and infrastructure. But we have to obey the regulations aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus.
Our crime laws must bite hard on such criminals. People must be afraid that when they commit crime our law enforcement will bite them.
We need to think and plan beyond the criminal mind during this lockdown so that we can face them head-on and eradicate crime in the country while we deal effectively with Covid19. The shift in the public perception can and will come from improved accountability if the Government moves with alacrity when reports of crime arise and follow through to the end to identify perpetrators and apply sanctions that fit the crime.
The IFP appeals to the law enforcement agencies to use the zero-tolerance approach against these criminals and opportunists. They must punish wrong doing in order to make life comfortable for all law-abiding citizens. We should not allow law breakers to have a foothold on society by the show of impunity in all fields of endeavour.
Regulations must be toughen up against callous criminals who have decided to use the lockdown as an opportunity to target businesses that have stopped operating, they must think twice before committing these crimes.
Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison,
078 290 5842
Date: 16 April 2020