Cele talks tough on enforcing level 1 restrictions, says over 310 000 arrested since March for violating lockdown regulations
Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned that the members of the SAPS will remain on high alert to enforce lockdown regulations during alert level 1.
Cele was briefing the media on Tuesday afternoon on the continued role of law enforcement as the country further eases Covid-19 restrictions which were first imposed by the government in March in response to the spread of the pandemic.
He said while the country was now on the lowest alert level, law enforcement would continue to enforce the law as prescribed by the lockdown regulations.
“Police will continue to enforce the curfew which starts from midnight until 4am. The sale of liquor is permitted from 9am to 5pm during the week and no alcohol can be sold for offsite consumption over the weekend or during public holidays,” he said.
He expressed shock and disgust at those who were already violating the regulations.
“This past weekend I joined the operations checking on the compliance in Ekurhuleni in the Gauteng province. During the multidisciplinary operation between the SAPS, SANDF and the provincial traffic law enforcements, we came across several shebeens and taverns operating way past the stipulated 10pm curfew under level 2,” Cele said.
He accused some of the liquor outlets, including restaurants, of squeezing patrons inside their premises with shut doors and windows to make it look as if that had closed while drinking and socialising continued inside.
“Establishments in other parts of the country are undertaking the illegal practice that is putting money before people’s health,” he said.
Cele warned that outlets could see themselves stripped of their operating licences.
He also revealed that 310 494 people had been arrested since the start of the lockdown in March for the violations of the regulations, with their offences relating to liquor, transport and cross border crimes.
Most of the arrests had happened in the Western Cape with 72 137 and followed by Gauteng 59 000 arrests.