Despite the streets of Sandton being eerily empty, Sandton Central’s team of 50 public safety ambassadors, the ‘Men in Red’, have been working throughout lockdown to ensure safety remains a priority.

One of the Men in Red, Mfanafuthi Khumalo, spoke to the Sandton Tourism and Business Association, offering a message to the community he serves. “Continue observing the rules and regulations, and please try by all means to stay home. This shall pass.”

Khumalo on duty in his red uniform

 

Khumalo, who has patrolled the busy streets of Sandton for three years, likened the quietness of the lockdown to a horror movie, adding that he misses the bustling city life for which the area is well known.

“Dealing with people who may be sick but don’t appreciate the need for social distancing is a big challenge. Most people are obeying the lockdown regulations and physical distancing guidelines, but there are a few who don’t and are making unnecessary trips,” he said.

Khumalo is well informed about COVID-19 and often gets queries about the Sandown Clinic and testing for the virus, information that he is only too happy to share. 

Aware that he is at a higher risk of exposure to the virus as an essential worker, Khumalo admits to overanalysing the difficulties of social distancing in public places. He uses public transport to get to work, which can be challenging during the lockdown, as taxis operate on different schedules to normal. Khumalo said the pandemic had put a lot in perspective for him personally, and said he was now determined to upgrade his studies and build a larger house for his mother.

 City Improvement Manager for Sandton Central Management District, Elaine Jack, told the Sandton Tourism and Business Association that Khumalo and the other Men in Red had shown dedication and professionalism. “They show us that heroes are real.”