As Zimbabwe swings into a more flexible level of Covid-19 lockdown, the police will be checking that the expected larger numbers on the streets and in buses are wearing masks, but want people to refuse to pay officers demanding cash payments to allow them to travel, even when they are going to permitted work.
During the first two phases of the lockdown, the levels four and three, police arrested 19 317 lockdown regulations offenders between March 30 and May 2.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Herald yesterday that the security for citizens was the major goal, adding that no one should pay officers to be allowed passage into town.
“Basically, as police we are there to ensure the safety and security for all,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“People should stick to the regulations and wear face masks in public transport and on the streets. Police will be checking on compliance at check points.”
More people are expected on the streets after President Mnangagwa last week said it was critical to balance between saving lives and keeping the economy ticking by opening up more sectors of the economy, but under strict guidelines as expected by the World Health Organisation to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Asst Comm Nyathi encouraged people to avoid paying law enforcement agents to be allowed entry into central business districts, and general travel, as long as they were part of groups of people expected at work.
Individuals who do not fall under the categories going back to work have also been advised to desist from offering bribes to police, saying they will be liable to an offence.
Police also plan to clamp down on haulage trucks, which have become the means of transport for many people travelling from city to city, since there are no buses.
Police checkpoints across the country have been activated to ensure all violating haulage truck drivers are fined, and where possible, the vehicles are impounded, said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Kombis operating at night and in
some remote areas, in violation of the lockdown regulations, have also been put on notice.
Asst Comm Nyathi said it was unfortunate that some people going to collect medicine have previously been blocked from travelling.
He said going forward, such people should always carry their documentation so that they are not inconvenienced.