One can only wonder if Police Minister Cele is deploying as many police to monitoring funerals and church services as he is to the lone surfers on totally deserted beaches. Why surfers who by their very presence in the water follow social distancing and are out there in a wide open sea absorbing fresh air and healthy doses of Vitamin E to fight off infection have become such a super-spreader threat and bane in Cele’s life is truly concerning and puts into question the intelligence of those who made the laws and are unable to apply common sense.
One can understand limiting the number of people on a beach on those busy public holidays when hordes invade but these days make up less than a handful in a year. If a dozen police are required to arrest one surfer on a normally deserted beach surely a police should be able to manage basic crowd control for they should be trained in just that and surely have enough experience in considering all the practice they have in controlling political demonstrations and unrest.
Similar to what happened in on the Langebaan beach yesterday happened on a relatively empty Cape St Francis beach on Sunday, probably the result of a Stoep Polisie report. And now according to press Cele is about to move to empty Garden Rote beaches on the off chance that someone might not have yet washed the sea sand off their feet and so can be clapped into irons and carted off to jail.
Whilst those putting even a toe onto a beach are targeted and risk six months in prison, families wander around shopping centres en masse with no controls imposed on the number of members of a family allowed into a shop at a time. Visit any local shop in St Francis and you will find multiple family members needed to make purchase be it Spar, the butchery or either bakery.
Groups still gather in townships and watch any SA television news channel and large groups will be ignoring social distancing, masks and all the other protocols as they protest one thing or another. Police seem conspicuous by their absence on these occasions for their deployment is to catch a solitary surfer is far more of a priority. Surely one poli constable on a lonely unoccupied beach is sufficient if surfers are even a threat in the first place.
Laws are made and should be followed certainly but no laws are intended to be totally unreasonable and not be policed with common sense. Many of our men and women in blue, not only in our precinct but around the country will apply the law with understanding, empathy, fairness and most of all, common sense. Sadly others consider themselves as storm troopers employed to punish not protect and sadly our Minister Cele is one of these.
Of course the police are required to act on any report of someone breaking a law and whistleblowers are a necessary part of policing. But whistleblowers or “STOEP POLISIE” who hide behind curtained windows petrified that someone transgressing a law will cause them personal harm do no more than call police from more important matters. Maybe when this pandemic is over some of these nasty souls can be identified and shunned by the community who largely respectful of the police and the laws, within reason.
Why our government has such a hateful attitude toward the beaches is mystifying for surely they are probably amongst the healthiest places to be in the summer months.
At the end of the day maybe there is a lot of truth in the conspiracy theory that this is all about control, global control.