A video showing members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) allegedly using tear gas to disperse a crowd of partygoers went viral over the weekend.
Although it is unclear where the incident took place, many social media users seem to believe the party happened in Nelson Mandela Bay, which was singled out as a COVID-19 hotspot where stricter lockdown rules will be imposed, in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s last national address.
Qhuuu Sarah’s ebumnandini eZwide ePE 🤪🤪🤪 pic.twitter.com/sR0L9Dwa3f
— Nogada ka Persal! (@Yoliswamakhasi) December 13, 2020
In the video, the crowd scatters after a volley of tear gas canisters explode. In typical South African fashion, there were numerous humourous reactions to the video – the man clutching onto his cooler box as he ran away from the police caught the attention of many.
My fighter 😂🔥 pic.twitter.com/72rnQ0VgvV
— Thamii (@Thami_____) December 13, 2020
Others were less impressed and chastised the revellers, saying they are endangering the lives of all South Africans by insisting on partying in spite of the current health environment.
Ewe abantu balapha ePE are very defiant and flout the lockdown regulations…
Bt what happened here is really not on. Police jst came nd started firing at patrons, during permitted groove hours and without warning.
Yes people need to do better, bt what the cops did was wrong
— Ma-Unie (@Nathy_Molo) December 14, 2020
I wish you can come to PE and see how defiant people are to stick to the regulations, we are losing family members and friends everyday, white or not this had to happen
— I stand with Nigeria 🇳🇬 🇿🇦 (@Cindere26156353) December 14, 2020
Police also drew criticism, as many perceived the alleged use of tear gas as excessive use of force.
Stricter lockdown rules in Nelson Mandela Bay include:
– A curfew from 10pm – 4am effective from December 4
– Alcohol sales only permitted from Monday – Thursday, from 10am – 6pm
– For indoor gatherings, the maximum occupancy has been reduced from 250 to 100 people – and the 50% capacity rule applies
– Drinking alcohol on beaches and in parks has been forbidden
As of December 13, the Eastern Cape has 16 287 active cases and the province has recorded the most deaths thus far.
South Africa added nearly 8000 positive COVID-19 cases on December 13, bringing the country’s total number of active cases to 76 677 and the cumulative number of positive cases identified to 860 964.
“Regrettably, 170 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 94, Free State 11, Gauteng 3, Kwa-Zulu Natal 4, Northern Cape 4 and Western Cape 54,” said Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Picture: Screenshot from video