“This time there is no December 31, December 31 people shaya ama tins (light fireworks), there is no tin hitting here (there is no lighting of fireworks here. By 9pm, everybody must be sleeping, everybody is in bed.”
Durban – Police Minister Bheki Cele has been slammed for sending the country to bed at 9pm ahead of New Years Eve celebrations in the evening.
Cele, who was speaking to police officers in KwaMashu on Wednesday, warned South Africans to remain home and be in bed by 9pm in a dramatic speech.
“This time there is no December 31, December 31 people shaya ama tins (light fireworks), there is no tin hitting here (there is no lighting of fireworks here. By 9pm, everybody must be sleeping, everybody is in bed,” he said.
South Africans are known to have excessive New Years Eve celebrations which usually involve large crowds at parties, music festivals and the setting of fireworks.
But this year, the celebrations are expected to be muted, after President Cyril Ramaphosa instituted a ban on the sale of alcohol until January 15.
The EFF, in condemning Cele, said the ministers remarks were inappropriate and attention seeking.
“After President Ramaphosa announced that we must celebrate the new year in our homes and that at 12 midnight he will be lighting a candle for the departed due to Covid-19, Bheki Cele comes and he contradicts the president withi his unfounded and stupid regulations that South Africans ought to be in bed by 9pm.
“We are all expected to be home by 9pm, so the police must not harass South Africans because of the misguided imbecile of a minister who clearly suffers from verbal diarrhoea,” said EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo.
The EFF said Cele was violent and anti-black, saying he also did not have the same enthusiasm for matters pertaining to gender-based violence, cash in transit heists and corruption.
“We are not in a police state and Bheki Cele must not behave like he is the absolute arbiter. He can tell his kids to sleep at 9pm, not us,” said Pambo.
Later on Thursday, footage emerged of police forcing motorists to unpack their luggage, supposedly in the search for alcohol. In other videos, police were seen nabbing motorists who had alcohol stocked in their car boots with an angry Cele ordering immediate arrests of those caught.