Home News Smuggling of alcohol, cigarettes on the rise since lockdown began, says Cele

Smuggling of alcohol, cigarettes on the rise since lockdown began, says Cele

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There have been 107 000 cases opened and 118 000 people have been arrested for contravening the regulations.

Police Minister Bheki Cele. File photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

JOHANNESBURG – Police Minister Bheki Cele says they have seen a sharp increase in the smuggling of contraband, including cigarettes and alcohol, at the country’s borders since the start of the national lockdown in March.

Cele said the smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol was being noticed at the country’s borders with Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. He said SAPS and SANDF members have been able to stop some of these incidents with over R1 million worth of goods confiscated in March and R1.6 million in April.

He was addressing the media on Friday. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes has been banned since the lockdown began.

Cele also gave a snapshot of the number of cases that have been opened regarding the contravention of lockdown regulations.

There have been 107 000 cases opened and 118 000 people have been arrested for contravening the regulations. 


The reasons for arrests vary including illegal gatherings, failure to remain at home, liquor and tobacco-related offences. He said since level four began the number of those arrested and cases opened was at 230 000.

He said the statistics of arrests in the country show that the highest arrests came from provinces with the highest number of Covid-19 infections. 


The Western Cape was leading with people being arrested for contravening regulations, followed by the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Those arrested had been issued with fines, warnings or released on bail pending a court appearance.

Cele said overall there has been a decrease in violent crime since the lockdown began compared to last year

A breakdown of crime statistics include;
– Murder – 1898 
– Rape – 4431
– Attempted murder -1439
– Assault causing griveous bodily harm – 17 796
– Robbery – 9425

Trio crimes;
– Carjacking – 1868
– Robbery at non-residence – 1798
– Robbery at residential premises – 1482

SAPS Covid-19 cases;

Cele said 611 SAPS members have tested positive for the coronavirus. The bulk of the cases were recorded in the Western Cape with 441 cases and the Eastern Cape with 47. Six SAPS members have died from the virus, four in the Western Cape and two in the Eastern Cape.

There have been 121 police stations that have had to be closed down due to SAPS members testing positive. The Western Cape has 19 police stations that have had to be closed and be disinfected, some more than twice. 


He said the process of disinfecting stations took 12 to 24 hours and stations were opened thereafter. 

Political Bureau