About 20 000 people were arrested and/or fined for contravention of the Disaster Management Act, since the beginning of Adjusted Level 3 Lockdown on 29 December last year. That's according to Police Minister, Bheki Cele.
In a media statement Cele called on South Africans to heed government’s call to adhere to the adjusted lockdown regulations. He said he was concerned that 7 455 of the arrested were nabbed for not wearing masks in public as is the law.
“These arrests were made despite people being told continuously to wear their masks. Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public are committing an offence. The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you,” the police minister said.
A further 834 people were arrested for liquor related infringements such as for the sale, dispensing, distribution and transporting of alcohol.
Cele commended the majority of South Africans who are complying with the adjusted regulations.
“I want to stress the point that the law enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests as these laws are there to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus that’s ravaging our country. However, officers of the SAPS are left with no choice but to act in the interest of saving lives.
Therefore, I urge everyone who resides within our borders to respect the laws of this land. The regulations are among our arsenal against this deadly virus and failure to comply with them certainly will result in more people being infected and more lives being lost,” he said.
Since the beginning of the national lockdown in March 2020, over 342 000 people have been arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act.