131 public officials arrested for violating South Africa’s Covid-19 regulations

 ·22 Apr 2020

Police minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern at the large number of public officials arrested for violating Covid-19 regulations.

Cele, during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday to assess adherence to the National State of Disaster regulations, revealed that 131 officials have been arrested since last month. The arrested include security forces, government officials and councillors.

Among them were two Sergeants from Katlehong, Gauteng, who were arrested after allegedly demanding a bribe from a businessman, who had contravened the lockdown regulations on Monday.

Cele said the two allegedly promised the businessman that they would destroy the docket in exchange for R12,000.

“The members we have arrested face a variety of charges relating to the prohibition of the selling of liquor during the lockdown where some were caught drinking, some buying and selling liquor, some for corruption and defeating the ends of justice, some for organising gatherings in contravention of the regulations, some even going as far as allegedly staging break-ins in the Western Cape – just to go and steal alcohol from closed liquor outlets,” the minister said.

At this stage, Cele said it needs to be emphasised that the only permit that may be obtained from the police, which can also be obtained from a Magistrate, is for travelling across provincial boundaries to and from a funeral. Police are not responsible for any other lockdown permits.

This comes after police were last week inundated by enquiries and complaints from parents asking for permits to fetch children in other provinces.

“Some parents were subsequently sent back at roadblocks or even arrested as they do not fall within the category of parents allowed to travel for this purpose, for example, parents sharing custody,” the minister said.

In relation to the sale of liquor, members of the public are encouraged to continue to adhere to the regulations.

“The ban on the sale of liquor is still in place,” Cele said.

On Tuesday at Maponya Mall in Soweto, six suspects and a tavern owner were arrested as police responded to information of liquor being sold illegally at the mall.

Read: Here’s how Covid-19 could shake up South Africa’s politics

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