On day one of the nationwide lockdown on Friday, the capital city of Tshwane wasn’t exactly a ghost town, but it was certainly far quieter than it normally is.
A number of people, however, decided not to heed the call to stay indoors.
News24 visited several areas in Tshwane and main roads leading into the CBD were mostly empty, with the exception of the odd vehicle.
Leading into the city centre, the usual busy roads roaring with the sound of vehicles were still. Pedestrians walked on the sidewalks, making their way to shops. Some were returning from shopping, with plastic bags in tow.
At least two roadblocks were spotted in the CBD where police officers were stopping vehicles and pedestrians, trying to ascertain the reasons for leaving their homes.
On the N4 highway leading into the CBD, another roadblock had been set up. A traffic officer told News24 that they had forced several vehicles to turn back as valid reasons for being on the road could not be furnished by the occupants.
“People are taking chances. This is not good,” the traffic official said.
Pretoria East was far quieter than the CBD, but News24 found two joggers defying the first day of the lockdown as they went on a morning run near Garsfontein.
All non-essential shops were closed, and petrol pump attendants were enjoying the peace and quiet. With virtually no cars on the road, there weren’t many people filling up.
News24 spoke to several employees at different petrol stations, and they were enjoying the change of pace.
Mamelodi was the busiest area visited by News24, but still quieter than it usually is.
Dozens of vehicles and even more pedestrians could be seen making their way to and from different grocery stores and spaza shops.
Small groups of residents were also seen congregating on sidewalks, socialising like on any normal day.
In Eerste Fabriek informal settlement, kids could be seen playing in between the shacks while elders gathered around, gambling.
Only one roadblock was seen on Mamelodi’s busiest road, Tsamaya Avenue, where police officers and a soldier were inspecting vehicles and turning back people who had no valid reason for travelling.