Hundreds arrested in Western Cape and Gauteng for breaking lockdown regulations

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A man is detained after having been found in possession of a beer in Johannesburg. (Marco Longari, AFP)
A man is detained after having been found in possession of a beer in Johannesburg. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Hundreds of people have been arrested in the Western Cape and Gauteng for flouting lockdown regulations, put in place to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19.

In Gauteng, police have arrested 281 people since Sunday for breaking lockdown regulations, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has said.

Mawela spoke to Bongani Bingwa on Talk Radio 702 on Monday.

"Most of those people who we have arrested are those people who do not want to stay in their residences. They gather… along the street, they drink liquor. They just continue as if life is normal."

He added that communities do understand the message of the lockdown as some residents were notifying police of transgressions.

"The majority of our people, they know, they are aware, they know about this thing. But there is a group… who decided they are going to disregard the regulations," Mawela said.

In the Western Cape, 603 people have been arrested since the start of the lockdown at midnight on Thursday, according to Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa.

'No-nonsense' approach

"It seems there are still people who just don't care, who just do not adhere to these regulations," Africa said.

He warned residents that law enforcement will have a "no-nonsense" approach in enforcing the regulations, and appealed to them to stay home.

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News24 previously reported 148 arrests in Gauteng on Sunday, while police also issued 25 warnings to residents who failed to adhere to lockdown regulations.

Mawela said the alleged offences included gatherings of more than 50, as well as buying and selling liquor.

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In Pretoria, a man was arrested after recording himself at a gathering of more than 100 people on Friday night, News24 reported.

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 played music and drank alcohol in public.

Also on Friday, the City of Johannesburg posted a tweet of a man being arrested after cycling on the freeway.

According to lockdown regulations, people may only leave their homes for essential business, such as buying groceries and seeking medical attention.

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