Cigarettes still illegal; provincial governments must stop relaxing lockdown laws – Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele has cautioned provincial governments to refrain from relaxing the regulations set down during the lockdown without the approval of national government. Picture: Leon Sadiki
Police Minister Bheki Cele has cautioned provincial governments to refrain from relaxing the regulations set down during the lockdown without the approval of national government. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Police Minister Bheki Cele has cautioned provincial governments to refrain from relaxing the regulations set down during the lockdown without the approval of national government.

This comes after news emerged that the Western Cape, which is governed by the DA, lifted the ban on the sale of cigarettes.

Cele warned businesses not to complain when national government set down laws during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

He reiterated that only national regulations should be followed during the lockdown.

“The regulations are signed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. There are no provincial regulations. What is done in Limpopo is expected to be done in the Western Cape,” he said.

There are no provincial regulations. What is done in Limpopo is expected to be done in the Western Cape
Police Minister, Bheki Cele

“Businesses shouldn’t complain when police implement national regulations. They shouldn’t make noise when police pounce,” said Cele.

He announced this at a media briefing by the interministerial committee in charge of the response to Covid-19.

They shouldn’t make noise when police pounce
Bheki Cele

Cele said cigarettes were not essential items, so the sale of them should be prohibited across the country. He warned that a failure to adhere to the rules set by government would lead to arrests.

The police department has already made more than 2 000 arrests since the beginning of the lockdown, Cele announced on Thursday.

“All the rules being addressed today [Thursday] must be adhered to. Don’t give us a reason to arrest you. We have no issues arresting people if we need to, so don’t give us a reason to,” he said.

He also announced that government had relaxed some of the regulations, including those that prevented citizens from attending funerals in other provinces and those that prevented spaza shops from operating.

READ: Cele calls for cooperation amid allegations of police brutality during lockdown

Cele said that Dlamini-Zuma amended regulations for all spaza shops and informal food traders so they could operate during the lockdown.

Cele said he was also glad that government had explained the role of spaza shops during the lockdown.

He explained that people travelling for a funeral may obtain a permit to travel from a magistrate by presenting the death certificate for certification at a police station. The traveller also had to provide their return date. Cele emphasised that a maximum of 50 people could gather at a funeral.


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