Business as usual at Pet Dam
1 September 2020
The Pet Dam has returned to its former glory of infamous party site, with no adherence to social distancing. Residents who dance and drink their nights away at the dam do not wear masks or adhere to social hygiene, urinate and defecate in the dam and on the surround shores, thereby risking cross contamination.
With the National Alert Level being lowered to Level 2, and more freedom is granted to citizen’s movement, the Pet Dam has already lured hundreds of party animals. With th lax law enforcement in Ermelo, it’s business as usual at the dam, complete with overly loud music, dancing, drunk driving and street fights. With residents in proximity to the dam having had some peace and quiet during the lockdown, it’s all back to square one now. The Pet Dam has returned to its former glory of infamous party site, with no adherence to social distancing. Residents who dance and drink their nights away at the dam do not wear masks or adhere to social hygiene, urinate and defecate in the dam and on the surround shores, thereby risking cross contamination. It is expected from residents that Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) and relevant authorities take charge of this situation, as it is completely unacceptable for such behavior to be allowed during a worldwide pandemic.
As stated previously, the SAPS has made clear that Msukaligwa Local Municipality is required to take action in this regard, and the buck cannot be passed to the SAPS, or any other law enforcement company, by MLM stating that “residents should report incidents such as these”. Upon enquiry as to how MLM plans to curb the increasing numbers of party-goers at the dam, the following response was submitted: “It is a common knowledge that as a country, we are still under the National State of Disaster (COVID-19) as extended by the Minister of Cooperative and Traditional Affairs in terms of section 27(5)(c ) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 , the extension commenced from 15 of August 2020 to 15 September 2020 in terms of Government Notice 756, published in Government Gazette 43524.
Enforcement officers are mandated under the Disaster Management Act, 2002 and regulations, if anyone contravene the regulations, the Enforcement Officer is expected to execute his or her her duties in terms of guideline regarding enforcement of the State of Disaster Regulations. Members of the public who commits an offence in terms of the Act, can expect the following: A person may be arrested or requested to accompany an enforcement officer to a police station. If the offence is of a serious nature, the person may be detained, subject hereto that he or she must be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 48 hours after the arrest. The person may apply for bail at his or her appearance in court. If the offence is less serious, the community service centre commander or the senior member of the SAPS in charge must consider the release of a person (in consultation with the investigating officer) ─ (a) on written warning to appear in court (section 72 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977) (A form SAPS 496 will be issued with a court date); (b) on written notice (section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977) (A form J 534 will be issued with an option to pay a fine or appear in court on the date indicated on the form. This option enables a person to pay an admission of guilt fine and to be released thereafter. This means that the person will not have to appear in court, but by paying the admission of guilt fine, it is regarded as if the person has been conviction in court on the charge and the person will have criminal record); (c) on bail (sections 59 and 59A of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977) [J398 or J399] (This means that an amount for the bail will be determined by the relevant police official or the prosecutor. The person will have to appear on a date indicated on the receipt); (d)after a charge has been withdrawn through an arrangement with the Public Prosecutor; or (e)if he or she was detained as a suspect, but is released from detention before the expiry of the 48-hour period because no charge is brought against him or her(section 50(1)(c) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977) [SAPS 328]. The municipality reiterates that it does not have municipal police like Metros or City ( Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekweni etc). The municipality relies on the SAPS to enforce the by-laws, same as Parliament makes, laws and law enforcement agencies enforce those laws, not parliament.”
In light of this response, residents who feel threatened, or are distraught by misbehavior at the Pet Dam, may contact the SAPS on 017 819 7803, or contact ACSU on 017 811 1274.