Lockdown violations have soared to 230 000, says Cele
CAPE TOWN - The number of cases opened by the police for lockdown regulation violations has more than doubled in May to 230,000, with the Western Province proving the least compliant province, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Friday.
"At one point towards the end of April when we were still on level 5, we had about 107,000 cases opened with 118,000 people charged for contravention of the lockdown regulations.
"In just over a month, this number has more than doubled and is almost at 230,000."
Cele said the contraventions included breaches of the ban on alcohol and cigarette trade, failure to confine to place of residence and gathering illegally.
There have been fewer contraventions of the ban on gatherings than witnessed under level 5, and transport offences have also declined thanks to better compliance with regulations by the minibus taxi industry.
Other offences recorded including cross-border and inter-provincial travel, as well as failure to produce permits for work or travel, or producing fraudulent permits.
He said the highest number of arrests occurred in the Western Cape, followed by the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
"The provinces with the highest number of arrests for contravention of the lockdown regulations almost mirror the provincial infection rates with the Western Cape in the lead, followed by Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng."
The Western Cape has more than 60 percent of the total number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in South Africa and there are discussions in government on whether it should be kept at level 4 restrictions once other parts of the country move to level 3.
Cele confirmed that organised crime has exploited the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, and said this extended to smuggling counterfeit liquor and tobacco products, including between South Africa and neighbouring countries.
"We have also observed an increase in smuggling of contraband (liquor and tobacco) between South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as the sale of these products in the black market."
The minister said the lockdown period, which began at midnight on 26 March, has seen an overall dramatic decrease in serious and violent crime, including rape, murder, robbery, assault and carjackings.
He said there has been a small increase in these crimes from April to May, and while the data was still being analysed, the ministry believed this may be due to the relaxation of lockdown restrictions under level 4.
"The reasons behind the increase or decrease in crime is yet to be determined and confirmed by our crime analysts," the minister of police said.
"However, we do believe that the slight increase is due to the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions, which has seen increased movement of people and traffic on the road, as more companies have gone back to business again."African News Agency