Hundreds of Gauteng commuters flooded Johannesburg’s Park Station yesterday in a mad rush to leave the province ahead of the lockdown.
Gauteng is the country’s coronavirus epicentre with over half of the 709 confirmed cases being in the province.
Despite premier David Makhura’s pleas to residents to remain in the province ahead of the lockdown, some commuters opted to leave in numbers.
Speaking at a media briefing in Midrand, Makhura said travelling would increase risks of infection.
“We are urging the residents to remain in Gauteng during the lockdown.
“If people leave the province they run a risk of getting infected or they may, if they are not aware that they are infected, infect others in other parts of the country.
“In the next 21 days, stay in the province, stay at home, if you are not part of the essential services,” premier Makhura said.
Lumka Sondeza, who was travelling to the Eastern Cape yesterday, said she thought it would be better to spend time with her child rather than being alone in Johannesburg for three weeks.
“I came here to work and that is my sole purpose.
“My boss told us that we will not be working during the lockdown because I am not part of the essential services at work,” Sondeza said.
Primrose Moyo said she was travelling to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, because she would not have enough money to survive while in SA.
“I sell fruit and vegetables in the CBD. As it is, I don’t have a lot of customers because people are not going to work, so I need to get home because I have no need to be here,” Moyo said.
Thomas Munyai, who was travelling to Bloemfontein with his 14-year-old son, said after being paid he wanted to go and be with his wife.
“Family is important. I believe that it’s better to be with my family and know exactly where everyone is, so that our movements are controlled. I also need to buy groceries tomorrow [today] before the country is put on lockdown,” Munyai said.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said minibus taxis and e-hailing services would only be permitted to operate from 5am to 9am and again from 4pm to 8pm where they will only be allowed to transport workers declared to be essential.