Cape Town – The Western Cape leads the country in the number of people arrested for violating National Disaster Act regulations after more than 260 people were arrested at the weekend.
By Saturday, 255 people were arrested across Cape Town, a drastic increase from two arrests recorded on Friday.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said although the number of arrests was increasing, he was confident that the national lockdown would be a success.
“This virus is catastrophic and we are seeing this in Europe. So we don’t understand why there are individuals who think they can beat the system.
"We are going to be harsh on them,” Cele said in Belville on Saturday, where he was joined by national and provincial police commissioners Khehla Sitole and Yolisa Matakata, in providing updates on lockdown regulations and operations.
“We have been instructed by the chief commander that there must be no ‘skop and donner’ but said we’ll have to push and nudge civilians who don’t abide by the regulations,” Cele said.
The officials later joined operations in Lingelethu, Khayelitsha, where more than six people were arrested within minutes.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele boarded a Golden Arrow bus in Khayelitsha on Saturday. Picture: Leon Knipe / African News Agency (ANA)
Regarding videos circulating on social media since the start of the lockdown, where police officers and the SANDF were seen using strong force, Cele rejected the allegations and said the videos were old and police were doing their job.
This after a police officer was seen in a video, on Friday, harassing and confiscating a photographer’s cellphone she was using to capture police allegedly assaulting a man in Capricorn.
A journalist also tweeted at the weekend that she was assaulted and shot with rubber bullets in Johannesburg, despite providing necessary documents which indicated she was a journalist.
“We have seen a lot of fake news being shared on social media. As a result a man has been arrested for spreading fake news and we are warning people to stop this or face the law.
“However, if there is someone who was assaulted, I would encourage them to open a case and provide evidence so that the incident can be investigated,” he said.
Eight people were arrested and issued with fines of R1 500 each in Drakenstein for not obeying the lockdown regulations at the weekend.
Fines were also issued to nine shebeen owners, of which some were closed down.
Twenty shebeens and 25 spaza shops in Mbekweni were inspected for contravention of regulations. One business in Mbekweni and 43 people were reprimanded for not adhering to lockdown regulations.