GAUTENG police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko led Operation O Kae Molao on Saturday.

They accompanied cops in Loate, Tshwane, enforcing lockdown regulations, including the curfew.

Mawela said: “The Loate police area is one of the hot spots in the province. On Friday and Saturday, 176 suspects were arrested. We mounted two roadblocks. In one, cops recovered two stolen vehicles and took another for inquiries.”

He said in another roadblock, two suspected drunk drivers and undocumented people were bust. “We have other teams focusing on compliance as there are a lot of liquor outlets in this area. Those outlets must comply with regulations and observe trading hours.”

Malewa said the provincial cops have balanced enforcing lockdown regulations with general law and order enforcement.

“If we focus on Covid-19 and forget about criminality, many will be killed. We look at whether liquor traders comply with regulations and whether they have licences.”

Mazibuko said they were in the area because of a high number of reported crimes. “We are dealing with gender-based violence. We want a province that is safe for all.”

The MEC was concerned that most people were no longer wearing masks.

“It can’t be right for the people of Gauteng to live in their houses as if in prison. On the other hand, Covid-19 is still around. We cannot be negligent,” said the MEC.