Coronavirus: I am sorry, says Pretoria man who was arrested after recording himself at large gathering

(Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)
(Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

A 36-year-old Pretoria man, who was arrested after recording himself poking fun at efforts to contain the novel coronavirus during a gathering of more than 100 people, has apologised.

The man posted a video on Twitter on Saturday and expressed regret for his behaviour

"I know how serious coronavirus is, last week I posted a video regarding coronavirus, so please stay home and stay safe."

Police Minister Bheki Cele's office said the man was returning from a funeral with friends on 21 March when they gathered at Temba Square in Hammanskraal and started playing music and drinking alcohol in public, in what has become known as an "after tears" ceremony.

The man had contravened regulations associated with the state of disaster the country finds itself in, by attending the gathering of more than 100 people and poking fun at the government's efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

"Guys, you can see for yourselves, Hammanskraal has life. You can see, look," the man said in the short video.

"It's all over. There isn't a single person wearing a mask. Those things don't work. There's life in Hammanskraal. Look how full it is and all the taverns are closed, they closed at 13:00.

"This is 'Skraal, there's life here, bras [guys]. It's happening in Hammanskraal, there's none of these things of Corona and what what. Oh yeah."

He was tracked down and arrested at 23:30 on Friday.

"This should come as a warning to those who continue to make a mockery of the Covid-19 scourge and undermine the efforts of government, that the law will not be kind to their ilk," Cele said as he commended officers for the arrest.

Cele encouraged people to report the spread of fake news to the Hawks' serious commercial crime unit via email at either govindasamip@saps.gov.za or cavenportb@saps.gov.za

On Friday, Cele announced that 55 people had been arrested nationally for defying the lockdown by, among others, participating in street bashes or sitting in a group and drinking alcohol in public.

- Compiled by Nhlanhla Jele

Voting Booth
It may soon be entirely illegal to drink and drive in SA. What do you think?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
This is long overdue
38% - 5560 votes
The current permitted alcohol level isn't the problem - irresponsible drivers are
45% - 6530 votes
A zero tolerance approach to drinking and driving is unworkable in SA
17% - 2399 votes
Vote
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo