The South African Police Services (SAPS), often supported by members of the Metro Police, has been establishing fixed point roadblocks and have deployed “rolling” roadblocks on various major routes, particularly at the border between Gauteng and the other provinces.
We have not received any direct reports from clients regarding any challenges being experienced at these roadblocks, and members of our team have not personally experienced any challenges. This has been because the members of the team have been carrying their identity documents (including passengers) and the relevant travel permits (permits are required to travel in and out of Gauteng for work purposes and permits are required to travel within Gauteng, and the other provinces, during the curfew hours).
We wanted to however share some thoughts with you, because there have been some reports that persons are experiencing challenges at the roadblocks. We suggest the following:
- Familiarise yourself with the current version of the Covid-19 Regulations – at the moment the Alert Level 4 Regulations apply (and preferably carry a copy with you);
- Where you require a permit (to travel in and out of Gauteng and/or to travel within the curfew hours within provinces) always carry the permit with you (the permit must be updated as each and every period of lockdown applies i.e. currently under Alert Level 4);
- Always carry identity documents (including passengers);
- Be courteous, polite, and do not become aggressive – the purpose / goal is to get through the roadblock as quickly as possible, and safely to your place of work or home;
- Regardless of any beliefs regarding the interpretation and application of the Covid-19 Regulations do not fight with the member of the SAPS at that point in time, even if you think the SAPS is wrong – take all the relevant details (name, police station, police region, etc.) but do not become aggressive in an attempt to obtain this information – it can always be found afterwards. The reality is that the roadblocks are staffed by between thirty to eighty members of the SAPS and regardless of what is right and wrong in the moment, the “power” rests with the SAPS, and even a delay at the roadblock (which can in certain cases include detention / arrest) will be unpleasant, and if there is a threat of arrest, do not argue, do not become aggressive, and unashamedly ask for “another chance” if you do not comply with the Regulations (in particular, if you are not carrying the correct permit at the time – remember the goal is to get through the roadblock and you can always take action afterwards if you believe that the SAPS has not acted appropriately in the circumstances but it is best to do this from the safety of your workplace or home);
- When planning a journey out of Gauteng, make sure that you know where the borders of Gauteng are so that you do not inadvertently end up not carrying a permit to travel for permitted purposes (such as work) in and out of Gauteng (there have been some anecdotes of persons being stopped within Gauteng and asked for permits, etc. Again, do not have the fight at that point in time. Please communicate, politely, that you are still within Gauteng and knowledge of where the borders are, will assist);
- At some of the roadblocks the SAPS is enforcing wearing of masks in a vehicle, even amongst partners, family members, etc. We also understand that some SAPS members have been asking for the driver to produce his/her hand sanitizer. A private vehicle is not a “public space”, but again, the goal is to get through the roadblock, and it is best not to argue with the SAPS member on his/her interpretation – say sorry and get through the roadblock.
We hope that you find this useful. If you need any assistance on the interpretation and application of the Alert Level 4 Regulations or a worst case scenario arises (arrest) please contact the team.