Police Minister Bheki Cele says over 20 000 people were arrested and/or fined for breaching the Disaster Management Act since the adjusted Level 3 lockdown on 29 December.
Cele revealed that 7 455 people were nabbed for not wearing face masks in public. These arrests were made despite people being told to wear their masks.
“Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public are committing an offence. The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you,” said Cele.
A further 834 people were arrested for liquor-related infringements, such as the selling and transporting of alcohol.
Cele commended the majority of South Africans who are complying with the regulations.
“I want to stress the point that the Law Enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests as these laws are there to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus that’s ravaging our country. However, officers of the SAPS are left with no choice but to act in the interest of saving lives. Therefore, I urge everyone who resides within our borders to respect the laws of this land,” said Cele.
“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.”
Since March last year, over 342 000 people have been arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act.