Hundred plus SA public officials arrested for COVID-19 violations

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Police Minister Bheki Cele is concerned at the large number of public officials arrested for violating COVID-19 regulations.

Cele, during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal to assess adherence to the National State of Disaster regulations, said 131 officials were arrested since last month. Those arrested include security forces, government officials and councillors.

Among them are two police sergeants from Katlehong, Gauteng, arrested after allegedly demanding a bribe from a businessman, who contravened lockdown regulations.

Cele said the two allegedly promised the businessman they would destroy the docket in exchange for R12 000.

“The members arrested face a variety of charges relating to prohibition on selling liquor during the lockdown with some caught drinking, some buying and selling liquor, some for corruption and defeating the ends of justice, some for organising gatherings in contravention of regulations, some even allegedly staging break-ins in Western Cape – just to steal alcohol from closed liquor outlets,” the Minister said.

Cele emphasised permits can only be obtained from police and magistrates for travel across provincial boundaries to and from a funeral. Police are not responsible for other lockdown permits.

This comes after police were inundated by enquiries and complaints from parents asking for permits to fetch children in other provinces.

“Some parents were sent back at roadblocks or arrested as they do not fall within the category of parents allowed to travel for this purpose, for example, parents sharing custody,” the Minister said.

In relation to sale of liquor, the public is encouraged to continue to adhere to the regulations.

“The ban on the sale of liquor is still in place,” Cele said.

On Tuesday at Maponya Mall in Soweto, six suspects and a tavern owner were arrested when police responded to information of liquor being sold illegally.