Police Minister Bheki Cele said law enforcement will remain on high alert to enforce the national curfew from midnight until 4am under the relaxed level 1 lockdown restrictions.
Speaking in Pretoria on Tuesday, Cele said the sale of liquor was only permitted from 9am to 5pm during the week and no alcohol can be sold for off-site consumption over the weekend or during public holidays.
Cele said alcohol can be sold and consumed at licensed premises only but not before 9am and not after midnight.
“Equally, alcohol cannot be sold as takeaways, it must be consumed on the premises where it was bought. It’s that simple,” he said.
“We are aware that as the days get warmer and the restrictions are relaxed, law enforcement [agencies] will have to work harder to ensure they bring an end to any behaviour that threatens the containment of this [Covid-19] virus.”
He said during a recent joint operation between the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the SA National Defence Force in Ekurhuleni, on the East Rand, he was shocked to discover that some shebeens and taverns were operating way past the stipulated 10pm curfew under level 2 of the lockdown.
Some liquor outlets were squeezing customers inside their venues with shut windows and doors, Cele said.
“This is done to look as if the business is closed for the night, meanwhile drinking and socialising in the confined space is on-going until the early hours of the morning. Establishments in other parts of the country are undertaking this illegal practice that is putting money before people’s health,” said the minister.
He also said restaurants and eateries were also breaking the law by flouting the rules and putting their customers at risk of infections.
“I want to remind all the business owners who insist on flouting the rules, the long arm of the law will catch up with you and you will also lose your operating license,” said Cele.
He said that as part of the SAPS’s integrated sexual offences and gender-based violence action plan, government had identified 30 hot spots based on nine key variables, including the number of cases reported to the SAPS during the 2019/2020 financial year.
These cases include rape, human trafficking and kidnapping for sexual offence.
“All police stations in those identified areas are expected to have a permanent desk dedicated to gender-based violence. This will go a long way in ensuring that victims of gender crimes are responded to by trained officers in a professional way.
“The dedicated desks will reduce the risk of ill treatment at the hands of police officers, as we have seen in some instances,” Cele said.
He noted that the medium- to long-term goal was addressing the gender-based violence case backlog as well as re-looking at cold cases.
“The capacitating of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations specialised unit that handles all gender-based violence and femicide cases is on-going and so is the training of members.
“Of course, we are aware that the identification of these hot spots does not mean that gender-based violence is limited only in these areas.”
“This is why provinces are strongly encouraged to look at their own localised hot spots and ensure victim centered service delivery in all corners of the country,” he said.