More than 20 000 people have been arrested or fined for contravening the Disaster Management Act regulations since Since President Cyril Ramaphosa placed South Africa in an adjusted Level 3 Lockdown on December 29, 2020.
Ramaphosa announced that people are now legally obligated to wear face masks while in public. Since then, 7455 citizens were apprehended for not wearing masks in public. Minister of Police, Bheki Cele said this is concerning and urged all South Africans to follow the rules.
“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,” said Cele in a statement on Wednesday, January 13. “The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you.”
A further 834 people were nabbed for liquor-related infringements, such as the sale, dispensing, distribution and transporting of alcohol.
Cele once again said that law enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests but their hands are forced by individuals who continually break the rules that are meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
“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 concluded.
More than 342 000 people have been arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act since the onset of the national lockdown in March 2020.