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Permits, Pandemic and Pressure!

North West swamped with stampede for permits

North West District Commissioner (DC) and Veterinary Offices in Maun this week faced the daunting task of issuing temporary movement permits to its residents.

With President Mokgweetsi Masisi declaring a 28-day lockdown, which came into effect on Friday, it seems Ngamilanders have already got itchy feet and are desperate to leave their homes.

As coronavirus spreads like wildfire around the world – as of Thursday evening over one-and-a-half million people had caught the virus with 90, 000 fatalities – Maun’s Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Thololwane warned the public they were risking their lives by leaving their homes unnecessarily.

“People don’t seem to understand the state of emergency that we are in. They seem not to take this virus with the seriousness it needs!” he stressed.

Thololwane told The Voice he was shocked at some of the requests people were making for permits.

“Some of the explanations are ridiculous. They want permits so that they can go and milk their livestock. Some want to take diesel to the farm!” said the exasperated officer, adding he does not understand why so many people did not complete such chores before the lockdown was called.

“They were given ample time to do so!” he noted.

“It is so worrisome because some of the people who are demanding permits include vulnerable groups like the elderly,” Thololwane added.

The vet advised members of the public to call their offices in advance to request a permit to avoid having to queue for hours when they arrive.

In total, Thololwane said they process at least ten permits every hour.

“We encourage people to stay at home and call us only when there is need, in an emergency situation that involves an animal’s health,” he concluded gravely.

Similarly, North West DC, Keolopile Leipego revealed they have processed over 1, 000 permits since the lockdown was called.

“Some of them want to be given permits to visit their boyfriends or just go to the cattle-post for no pressing cause!” exclaimed a visibly frustrated Leipego, who reiterated Tholowane’s advice for the public to stay home whenever possible.

The DC complained that his office is overcrowded, adding there is ‘not a single minute’ that passes without them working on permit or addressing issues related to such.

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