Home South African Obey lockdown rules, or go to jail

Obey lockdown rules, or go to jail

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“It is not a fairytale to say the law will act very harshly on you. We hope we will work together here”

A billboard is installed on an apartment building in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, before the country of 57 million people, will go into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Thursday to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Picture: AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht.

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele has called on South Africans to obey the rules of staying at home or face possible jail time.

The SAPS and the SANDF are moving into communities to enforce the national lockdown from midnight tonight.

This comes as the country officially goes into a 21-day national lockdown which will see people being forced to stay at home and most businesses closed, as the country escalates its measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Cases in the country had surged to over 700 yesterday.

Cele and other security cluster ministers outlined a list of prohibited activities and operations during the next three weeks, adding that people would be jailed for six months or fined, or both, if they transgressed.

Cele indicated that religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, organisational or related activities were banned from taking place in the next 21 days.

He announced a total ban on the sale of alcohol and non-essential movement, adding that all restaurants and shopping centres would be forced to close, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies

“There shall be no food at restaurants. You buy food from these (open) outlets and cook at home, so there is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around. There was a story that you can walk your dogs. There shall be no dogs that will be walked. The cluster met and discussed and we agreed it does not enhance the call made by the president,” Cele said.

He said the movement of liquor would be totally prohibited during the lockdown. “There shall be no movement of liquor from point A to point B. If we find liquor in your boot that is illegal. That is a crime, which means what you have at your home, you will consume there, not next door. To show that we are serious, if you break these laws or regulations, you face six months or a fine, or both,” Cele said.

He said two people had already been charged with attempted murder in KwaZulu-Natal for transgressions.

“It is not a fairytale to say the law will act very harshly on you. We hope we will work together here,” he said.

The ban on alcohol would reduce car accidents and violent drunken brawls and open space in hospitals to accommodate Covid-19 patients when the infections worsened, he said.

The lockdown will also see beaches, pools, game reserves and hotels closed except where they were allowed to open due to the presence of tourists.

The curfew would include patrols, roadblocks, closures and searches.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said while soldiers were deployed to ensure enforcement of the lockdown, this was not meant to subject civilians to abuse and violence.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said all passenger flights, rail services and cruise ships would shut down.

Buses and minibuses would only be allowed to transport essential service workers, while those banned from operating could be given financial relief. As part of measures for small businesses, taxis would be granted a three-month payment holiday for taxis financed by the National Taxi Finance Institution.

Banks were considering following suit.