Watch: ‘Operation lockdown’ brings Joburg’s M1 highway to a standstill
Large-scale law enforcement operations have been intensified across all provinces on Wednesday.
A multidisciplinary lockdown operation in Johannesburg, tasked with identifying defaulters and halting the movement of illicit goods, brought the M1 highway to a standstill on Wednesday morning.
Although traffic in most provinces has dwindled in recent weeks, scenes captured on the M1 highway in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning appeared to resemble the city’s infamous, pre-lockdown rush-hour. The backlog of vehicles, well known to most locals, was, however, on this occasion not a result of the morning rush to work, but instead a large-scale law enforcement operation.
Watch: Cops and soldiers enforce lockdown laws on Joburg highway
The operation, led by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in collaboration with the National Defence Force (SANDF) and local law enforcement agencies, effectively implemented a vehicle checkpoint system spanning all lanes of the M1 highway. Gauteng Community Safety explained the purpose of the operation, saying:
“Multidisciplinary forces have closed down M1 in Johannesburg to deal with the people who are not adhering to the lockdown regulations and to check if there are no illicit goods being transported during this period.”
It is, at this stage, unclear how many arrests were made as a result of the M1 operation.
Similar roadblock operations were carried out simultaneously in other provinces.
In Limpopo, vehicle checkpoints in Vuwani and Tzaneen were implemented, with law enforcement officers investigating the validity of travel and ‘essential worker’ permits.
SAPS operations were also intensified in the Western Cape, with roadblocks in Khayelitsha, Valhalla Park, Golden Valley and Riverleigh.
In Mpumalanga, four taxis were impounded during vehicle inspections. Mobile clinics, as part of government’s campaign to increase COVID-19 testing capacity, were also present at roadblocks in Secunda and Witbank.