Durban man arrested and fined for not wearing mask while jogging
A DURBAN man is seething with anger after he was arrested, detained and fined for not wearing a mask while jogging in Avoca, north of Durban, on Sunday.
Asheel Sewsanker, 24, left his residence at 7:30am on Sunday for his daily jog. When he did not return his family panicked.
A missing person alert was sent out via private security company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa).
Sewsanker’s family reported to Rusa that his cellphone was switched off and attempts to locate him on the route where he jogged were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Sewsanker was at the Greenwood Park SAPS for contravening the National Disaster Management Act by not wearing a mask in public. At the end of January, Police Minister Bheki Cele called on South Africans to heed the government’s call to adhere to the adjusted Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
He said 20 000 people had been arrested and/or fined for contravention of the Act since the start of the adjusted Level 3 lockdown on December 29, 2020.
Sewsanker told Independent Media he was a metre from his front gate when a police vehicle with two officers inside stopped him. He was loaded into the back of the van and taken away before he could alert anyone at home. He also did not have his cellphone.
Three others were arrested as the police van circled Avoca.
“I was in the police cell for about 20 minutes because the computer system was down. I could not remember my parent’s cell numbers. I had to call my employer to alert my parents. My fingerprints and then a statement was taken.
“I was given an option of a fine or to appear in court. The process took five hours. It was very stressful,” Sewsanker said.
He paid an admission of guilt fine of R1 000.
Cele noted with concern the arrest of 7 455 citizens who were caught not wearing masks in public.
“These arrests were made despite people being told continuously to wear their masks. Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public are committing an offence. The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you,” Cele said.
Cele said law enforcement agencies did not enjoy making these arrests. He said police officers were left with no choice but to act in the interest of saving lives. Since the start of the national lockdown in March 2020, over 342 000 people had been arrested for contravening the Act.
In December last year, it became mandatory for members of the public to wear a mask in all public spaces.
At the time, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “A person who does not wear a mask covering over their nose and mouth in a public place, would be committing an offence.
“A person who does not wear a mask could be arrested and prosecuted. On conviction, they will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months or both a fine and imprisonment.”