Municipal police get arresting powers

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HARARE municipal police were given temporary arresting powers through the SI 77 of 2020 as the fight against Covid-19 intensifies in the country with local authorities shutting down vending markets as a way to decongest and curb the spread of the deadly virus.

 

Statutory Instrument (SI) 77 of 2020 authorises any local authority to evacuate, close, alter, or if deemed necessary, even demolish any premises considered likely to favour the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking to the Daily News, City of Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme said the municipal police will indeed disperse crowds and the powers are for a timeframe of two months.

Acting chamber secretary Charles Usaviwevu Kandemiri also confirmed that municipal police have been designated enforcement officers in terms of the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations, 2020 (SI 77 of 2020).

According to the SI, the chief executive officer of every local authority shall furnish each enforcement officer referred to in paragraph (b) of the definition of “enforcement officer” who is acting within the jurisdiction of the local authority with a certificate signed by or on behalf of the chief executive officer stating that he or she has been appointed as an enforcement officer for the purpose of these regulations.

“An enforcement officer may order any individual or group of individuals who have been confirmed, clinically or by a laboratory, as having Covid-19 to be quarantined for a period of up to 14 days within their homes or in a hospital or place of isolation,” the SI reads.

Harare City Council added that members of the public are expected to cooperate with the municipal police when enforcing the provisions of the regulations.

“Failure to cooperate constitutes a criminal offence punishable in terms of the regulations,” they said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo City Council has shut down the Khothama weekend market and limited the number of mourners attending burials to 30.

Zimbabwe has recorded five confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death while neighbouring South Africa has recorded two deaths and more than 900 infections.

Social distancing is being enforced worldwide to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

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