Pretoria attorney Ferdi Hartzenberg. Picture: Supplied
Pretoria attorney Ferdi Hartzenberg. Picture: Supplied

LockdownSA: Transgressors will feel full brunt of law

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Mar 27, 2020

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Pretoria - While the country is under lockdown for the next 21 days, all citizens must adhere strictly to the law and they may not disregard existing court orders during this time.

Those who do will feel the full brunt of the law, warned Pretoria lawyer Ferdinand Hartzenberg.

He said it was also a criminal offence to contravene the lockdown regulations put in place by government regarding movement. Those who disobey can face hefty fines and even imprisonment of up to six months.

Criminal offences regarding the coronavirus include that any person who has been confirmed as a clinical case (who presents with the clinical signs and symptoms of the virus) or is suspected of having the virus or have been in contact with someone who is carrying the virus, may not refuse consent to be subjected to a medical examination. This includes the taking of any bodily sample by a person authorised to do so.

Hartzenberg said people may also not refuse to be admitted to a health establishment or a quarantine or isolation site.

People who do not adhere to this, face being placed in isolation for 48 hours, pending a warrant being issued by a court following an application by an enforcement officer.

“In plain English, you will be detained at a place for 48 hours in order for a warrant to be issued by a court to force you to be examined,” Hartzenberg said.

Any person who intentionally misrepresents that they are infected with Covid-19 is guilty of an offence and can face a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

“It is important to remember that if you post or publish a statement through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive anyone about Covid-19 or make known the status of anyone in this regard, you commit an offence. On conviction, you can be fined or imprisoned for up to six months or both.”

Hartzenberg further warned that anyone who intentionally exposed another to Covid-19, may be prosecuted for assault, attempted murder or murder.

He also warned that the Disaster Management Act did not negate the working and effect of our court orders.

“It is therefore important that in terms of the current situation you have to ensure that you adhere to a court order.”

This also relates to divorced or separated parents who have a custody order in place regarding their children. “The parent in whose care the minor children are at the start of lockdown is not allowed not to give access to the other parent in terms of a court order or a mutual arrangement between the parties.”

He said in order to adhere to the court order, parents in this situation must ensure children are transported to the other parent in such a way as not to endanger the broad public or the children.

“It is important that a practical arrangement regarding the access of the children is made.”

Hartzenberg said parents could, for example, drive to a close-by shopping centre to exchange the children or one parent could drive to the other’s home to drop or pick them up. “Parents are urged to, in light of the lockdown, be considerate and accommodating in allowing their children access to both parents and to find a practical solution.”

Pretoria News

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