KwaZulu-Natal will take a zero-tolerance stance against COVID-19 lockdown regulation transgressors as the province anticipates an influx of visitors ahead of the festive season, says Premier Sihle Zikalala.

The Premier made the vow during the launch of Operation Vala in Durban on Friday.

On Thursday, the Premier, accompanied by Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli and his Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs counterpart Ravi Pillay, joined police during a monitoring of COVID-19 lockdown regulations compliance operation on eateries on Florida road.

At the launch, Zikalala said there would be no major events in the province during the December holidays.

“There will be no major events hosted in the province,” he said. “We are appealing to our people to host themselves as families and as relatives in their own space and homes.”

“We will want [those who are visiting cities] to enjoy themselves along the coast and the inland but without being crowded when they [do so]. We are going to ensure that we are strict on measures that protect people against COVID-19,” he said.

The Premier said the abuse of alcohol, as well as drinking and driving, would not be tolerated, saying roadblocks will be intensified, strengthened and increased on all roads during this period. Picnics would also be monitored.

Zikalala also implored municipalities to enforce by-laws and regulations.

“People must not be allowed to drink all over. We are proposing that there be only 100 people allowed in indoor events and we will want to curtail mass gatherings,” he said.

The province, he said, would also be monitoring around the beaches in eThekwini, KwaDukuza, Richards Bay, towards uMkhuze and even in areas in the south of Durban, access will be subjected to restriction in terms of entry and exit.

“[The] strong message is going to be communicated to raise awareness among our people. There is a dark cloud over the sky. Our message is clear: protect yourself against COVID-19 and ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Anyone of us, and everyone, must follow protocols when it comes to protecting ourself against COVID-19,” he said.

The Vala Campaign, he said, also encompasses addressing issues such as rife taxi industry violence and accidents, gender-based violence, drug peddling and abuse, farm murders, and crime in tourism spots.

He said: “We proclaim safety of our people. We want our people to feel safe and enjoy protection. We want to see the protection of our people in farm areas all over KZN. We want our people to feel secure in the transport industry. We want to see the protection of our people in all areas where tourists are attracted to enjoy themselves.”

Government would achieve this through high police visibility and response, he said.

He urged the public to wash hands, sanitise, wear a face mask, and observe social distancing.

“Let us prevent and avoid overcrowding,” he said.

Also speaking at the launch, eThekwini Metro Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the city had made arrangements aimed at curbing the spread of the virus at the beaches.

In this regard, the metro has arranged free park-and-ride shuttle services at the drive-in to prevent congestion along the beaches and other spots around the city.

“To achieve this, the city will also close certain routes to the beaches and for close monitoring of congestion by its metro police and other law enforcement agencies,” said Kaunda.

There will be a constant cleaning and deep sanitisation of ablution facilities,” he said, adding that the municipality would be deploying about 250 lifeguards.

The consumption of alcohol will be strictly prohibited.

He said with the stringent measures the city has put in place, he was hopeful the people would put their lives first.

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