There needs to be a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the closure of the New Brighton police station earlier this week, after a member tested positive for the Coronavirus.
There are serious questions that need to be answered. I have therefore submitted parliamentary questions to the MEC of Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe.
These relate to the time between when the station commander found out that a member tested positive and when the station closed down; what steps the member, who had allegedly been in close contact with a person who tested positive, and who later tested positive, had taken to inform their superiors; and whether any of the member’s work colleagues were made aware that the member was in contact with someone who had tested positive.
The Democratic Alliance does not believe that any person should be prejudiced or persecuted for contracting the Coronavirus, but it is also essential that individuals be proactive in helping curb the spread of the disease.
The law is clear in that any person who intentionally exposes another person to COVID -19 may be prosecuted for an offence, including assault, attempted murder, or murder and as such clarity is needed in terms of what steps were taken by the member in question.
I have also asked what action will be taken, if it is subsequently found that the member was in contact with someone who was positive and did not inform their colleagues?
I have also asked for clarity relating to testing of the SAPS members at the station after the first confirmed case, as well as issues relating to the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to members at the station, as well as what steps are being taken to ensure the station is sanitised.
SAPS management have a duty to ensure our frontline workers are fully protected at all times.
This incident has also highlighted the critical importance of having contingency plans in place across the province for alternative venues if a police station needs to close for decontamination.