South Africa would probably be a sober nation throughout the 21 days of lockdown if Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, had his way.
His instruction is clear: no selling of alcohol anywhere, no walking dogs and definitely no jogging. Everyone must stay home and only those whose jobs are classified as essential service can leave their homes for work.
Cele was part of the security cluster of ministers who briefed the nation on live television on Wednesday on what would and would not be permissible when South Africa spends 21 days locked down in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus.
“All consumption places including, taverns, shebeens, Shisanyamas ... where liquor is sold. This time you're buying liquor between 9am and 6pm, but during the lockdown you will not buy liquor,” he said.
The list of places that are not allowed to sell alcohol during the lockdown includes bottle stores and supermarkets that have got an alcohol side.
“When you go to these supermarkets there are portions which sell liquor. They shall not. I know that some of them have a tendency of moving their liquor to the main shelves,” Cele said.
Even having alcohol in your car is a criminal offence. Cele said the antional disaster laws being used for the lockdown provides for the restriction of movement for alcohol or liquor.
"There shall be no movement of the liquor from point A to point B. If we find liquor in your boot [of your car] that’s illegal. Which means what you have in your home you consume it there, not next door," he warned sternly.
The minister also warned that anyone disobeying the lockdown regulations will either be jailed for six months or be made to pay a fine.
Cinemas, theatres and shopping malls are not allowed to open at all, except for grocery stores and pharmacies.
“Restaurants shall not operate. There shall be no food in restaurants. You buy food from these outlets [superrmarkets] and go and cook at home, so there’s no need to move around," said the police minister.
Cele also overturned the controversial statement by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize earlier in the day, that said people wouod be allowed to walk their dogs and jog. Cele said that's not the case.
"There was a little bit of a story earlier on that you can walk around. There shall be no walking of dogs. If you do want to move your dog you can do so around your house...it ends there.”
With only few hours left before the lockdown kicks in Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, said those treating the lockdown as a holiday and travelling to their rural homes are going against government’s plans.
“In Park Station people are packing and leaving in numbers. That’s exactly what is not needed. We don’t need jam packed people in taxis, in taxi ranks and all of that,” he said.
Mbalula said after midnight on Thursday only public transport carrying workers who are doing essential work would be allowed to operate between 5am and 9am and then again between 4pm and 8pm.
Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola said some courts will continue to work during the lockdown period.
“Some of the service that will serve during this time relates to masters' office. As you are aware it relates to matters of getting letters of authority for people who might need insurances for burials and other relevant necessities that are directly related to the masters office."
Lamola said his department will not be transporting inmates during the lockdown.