7 000 people arrested for not wearing masks got criminal records, says Bheki Cele

Police have arrested 20,116 people between 29 December and 11 January, Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed during an interview with eNCA on Tuesday, 12 January.

Cele’s revelation comes after the nation address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, where he extended the country’s level 3 lockdown period.

The president announced that alcohol sales and some gatherings would remain prohibited under the adjusted level 3 strategy, and that the country’s land borders would also be closed until February.

Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted the lockdown regulations that amended the curfew hours to 9 pm-5 am.

Meanwhile, during the interview, Cele said the offenses varied among liquor-related ones and general non-compliance with the lockdown and state of disaster regulations, including not wearing masks.

He reiterated that citizens needed to align themselves with the lockdown level 3 regulations.

“So far there have been 7,000 people who have been arrested for not wearing masks and whether they pay a fine or appear in court they obtain a criminal record immediately,” he said.

The minister also revealed that police have arrested more than 342,000 people since the beginning of the lockdown in March.

He further confirmed that soldiers would be station at various borders across the country – including Beitbridge, Maseru, and Lebombo – to ensure compliance of Covid-19 regulations.

This also includes mandatory Covid-19 tests, which are required upon entry at the borders.

-The Citizen

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Bheki Cele