We are not bluff­ing when we say the law will act very harshly on you, Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele warns the pub­lic

The Star Late Edition - - Front Page - SIVIWE FEKETHA

AS SOUTH Africa fi­nally en­ters a 21-day na­tional lock­down at mid­night to­day, trans­gres­sors of stip­u­lated or­ders of home stay could face six months in jail or a fine or both.

This was ac­cord­ing to Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele, who out­lined a list of pro­hib­ited activities and op­er­a­tions in the next three weeks as the coun­try es­ca­lates its mea­sures to con­tain the spread of Covid-19, spo­radic cases of which had surged to more than 700 yes­ter­day.

Cele an­nounced that re­li­gious, cul­tural, sport­ing, en­ter­tain­ment, recre­ational, ex­hi­bi­tion or­gan­i­sa­tional or re­lated activities were banned.

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

The SAPS and the SANDF have been tasked to en­force the com­pli­ance of the lock­down mea­sures by civil­ians through­out the coun­try.

“There shall be no food at restau­rants. You buy food from these out­lets and go and cook at home, so there is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around.

“There was a lit­tle bit of a story ear­lier that you can walk your dogs. There shall be no dogs that will be walked. The clus­ter met and dis­cussed and we agreed that it does not en­hance the call made by the pres­i­dent,” Cele said.

He fur­ther main­tained that 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 are (jailed for) six months or (given) a fine or both.”

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

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

He noted that the to­tal ban on al­co­hol would re­duce car ac­ci­dents and vi­o­lent drunken brawls, and open up space in hos­pi­tals to ac­com­mo­date Covid-19 pa­tients when the in­fec­tions get worse.

The lock­down will also see beaches, pools, game re­serves and ho­tels closed, ex­cept when 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.

“The na­tional lock­down is def­i­nitely not meant to pu­n­ish cit­i­zens by re­strict­ing their move­ments, but it is meant to con­tain and min­imise the spread of this virus. The Con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic SA man­dates the SANDF to de­fend and pro­tect the repub­lic, its ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and its peo­ple in or­der to pre­serve life, health and prop­er­ties in emer­gency and hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief op­er­a­tions,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

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

Mbalula said buses and minibus taxis would only be al­lowed to trans­port es­sen­tial service work­ers, with those banned from op­er­at­ing meant to be given fi­nan­cial re­lief.

As part of the re­lief mea­sures for small busi­nesses in dis­tress, taxi own­ers would be granted a three-month pay­ment holiday. MORE RE­PORTS, PIC­TURES IN­SIDE

| SIM­PHIWE MBOKAZI African News Agency (ANA)

PEO­PLE gather at Joburg’s Park Sta­tion yes­ter­day ahead of the start of the na­tional lock­down at mid­night tonight.

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