Expect strict policing during lockdown level 1 – especially curfew and alcohol sales: minister

Police minister Bheki Cele says that the South African Police Service (SAPS) will ensure that the country’s move to level 1 lockdown is strictly enforced in terms of national regulations.

As the country moves towards summer, and the days become warmer, law enforcement will have to work harder to bring an end to any behaviour that threatens the containment of the coronavirus, Cele said in a press briefing on Tuesday (22 September)

“South Africa may be on the lowest alert level of the national lockdown but law enforcement, on the other hand, will remain on high alert,” he said.

The police minister said that the SAPS will continue to enforce the evening curfew which is in effect from 00h00 – 04h00 every day. Cele said police will also ensure the continued restrictions around the sale of alcohol.

Under the country’s level 1 lockdown the sale of liquor is permitted by licensed premises for off-site consumption is permitted from 09h00 to 17h00, from Mondays to Fridays, excluding weekends and public holidays;

Liquor may also be sold licensed premises for on-site consumption is permitted, subject to strict adherence to the curfew.

The police minister ‘expressed his disgust’ at establishments which did not care for the health of South Africans by breaking these liquor rules. He said that several shebeens and taverns were caught this past weekend breaking the regulations.

He added that some restaurants and eateries are flouting the rules, putting their customers and other South Africans at risk.

“I want to remind all business owners who insist on flouting the rules, the long-arm of the law will catch-up with you, and you will lose your operating licence.”

Over 300,000 arrested 

Cele said that from the start of the lockdown to date, 310,494 people have been arrested and charged with contravention of the country’s lockdown rules under the Disaster Management Act.

These violations include liquor, transport, cross-border and business-related violations, he said. The Western Cape recorded the most arrest at 72,137 charges followed by Gauteng with 59,000 arrests .

While social gatherings including concerts and events are now permitted, Cele said that nightclubs are still prohibited under the country’s level 1 lockdown.

The police minister also cautioned that South Africa’s will have to follow existing by-laws regarding noise levels, with the SAPS receiving a number of nuisance complaints.

The updated guidelines around gatherings include:

  • Gatherings will be allowed as long as the number of people do not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue –  up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings;
  • Maximum capacity at funerals has been increased to 100 people;
  • Night vigils are still prohibited;
  • Venues such as gyms and recreational facilities have had limits increased to 50% of total capacity;
  • Existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place.

Read: South Africa’s international travel list will be based on risk levels: minister

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