Minister of Police Bheki Cele Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
Minister of Police Bheki Cele Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Western Cape leads provincial lockdown arrests tally

By Karen Singh Time of article published May 29, 2020

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Durban – Police Minister Bheki Cele said 243 146 people had been arrested since the start of the lockdown for flouting regulations put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He said some cases were still under investigation, and 41491 had been finalised.

“There is a relationship that is not very good here. Most of the people who have been arrested come from the hot-spot areas. For instance, the Western Cape leads in terms of the number of people who have been arrested,” said Cele, speaking during the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) briefing yesterday.

The provincial breakdown of arrests included: Western Cape 57 000; Gauteng 40 000; KZN 27 000; Free State 34 000. 

Cele added that the ministry was in discussion with the Minister of Justice regarding the matter, so “people who have committed petty crimes do not find themselves with criminal records”.

He said 841 members of the SAPS had Covid-19, with 601 of those cases occurring in the Western Cape.

The JCPS cluster said in a statement that it had received several allegations related to corruption involving Covid-19 relief efforts earmarked for poor communities.

In response to these allegations, the cluster said that it had developed a collaboration framework that would ensure prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and recovery of stolen assets and funds.

“Law enforcement officials have established an interim structure that will address all allegations of corruption and will ensure that those who are charged face prosecution,” the JCPS said.

It added that there would be a specific focus on Covid-19-related corruption matters in the courts for efficient resolution, and these were listed as a priority in the directions issued by the minister of Justice and Correctional Services.

Other matters that would receive priority in courts include sexual offences, gender-based violence and femicide, serious violent crimes, robbery, murder, assault and the violation of Covid-19 regulations.

“Where appropriate, the courts will use audio-visual communication, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, to conclude urgent cases.

“All cases that are not urgent will be postponed,” the JCPS said.

The Mercury

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