COVID-19: Soweto residents defy social distancing measures

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In the midst of the lockdown, the hustle and bustle of ordinary days has somewhat quieted in Soweto.

The streets of South Africa’s most famous township are struggling to be completely free. In this historic city’s supermarket, hundreds of people line up to stock up on supplies.

In this queue, social distancing measures have been defied. And yet they are recommended by health authorities.

These days off are not just for staying home and doing whatever we want as we would do on a vacation. We really need to join.

“I’m worried there’s no police. In all the lines… You can see how long the lines are in this hypermarket. But there are no policemen. And keeping the set distance is not the order of the day,” said HR practitioner, Sihle Hlomuka.

Seen Msomi, a marketer ‘‘thinks there has to be some kind of force implemented because people aren’t listening. Next to the people who come here to do their shopping, there are people who drink and people who hang out in the street. These days off are not just for staying home and doing whatever we want as we would do on a vacation. They are not a vacation. We really need to join.”

South Africa has imposed a 21-day lockdown period which is set to last until April 16th.

Less than a week after the start of this unprecedented period in the country’s history, violence involving military personnel against civilians has been reported, particularly in townships such as Soweto.

Omolayo.A