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MHLANGATANE – “If we don’t protect ourselves, no one will.”

This is a stance by residents of an area known as Ndvwabangeni around Mhlangatane. They have resolved to enforce the recommended health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as sanitising as well as wearing of the masks in public places. 

Ndvwabangeni is an area near the borderline of South Africa (SA) and is situated under Mhlangatane Inkhundla. 

A task force, which also includes community police members, has been established to move from one shop to another, as well as monitor public places to ensure that individuals not wearing masks are turned back. Shop attendants who were found not wearing face masks were also ordered to do so or close their shops. 


The task force also monitors areas such as dip tanks to ensure that people who drive cattle there, follow the recommended prevention measures of curbing the spread of the virus. 

Victor Mahlalela, who oversees the task team, said the measures were being enforced because some residents seemed to have relaxed. He said some residents were of the view that the COVID-19 pandemic was a hoax. He said such individuals deliberately refused to wear face masks because they did not believe that COVID-19 was real. “We cannot afford to take a chance and allow people to roam around freely without masks,” said Mahlalela.

He said there were about seven community police members working with the residents to enforce the COVID-19 regulations. He said it was not always possible for police officers from Buhleni or Tshaneni to reach the area and monitor social distancing or wearing of masks. 


Mahlalela said many people were turned back at dip tanks if found not in compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines. He recalled an incident where a man was ordered to leave his cattle behind and go fetch a mask. 

He said they were also monitoring gatherings in the area to ensure that people complied. 

He revealed that the task force was strict with shop owners and ensured that they did not allow people without masks to enter or buy goods. “If we do not find a sign stating that ‘no mask, no entry’ we demand that they display it,” said Mahlalela. 

Mandlenkosi Gumedze, who is the Indvuna of the area, said they were also concerned about people who did not follow the recommended regulations. He said he would also monitor to ensure that this was followed.  Meanwhile, around Ndlalambi under Timphisini Inkhundla, there were also concerns that residents were also not wearing masks in public places. They also expressed concern that even in some shops, people shopped freely without a care that they were not wearing them. 

A resident, Jennifer Du Pont, who is also the former Member of Parliament (MP) of the area, expressed her concern about this. 

She said people did not take the pandemic seriously and that they roamed around in public places without masks. She said this was also the case in some shops where attendants served them without wearing masks.

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