More than 20,000 South Africans have been arrested for violating the stricter coronavirus restrictions announced last December to usher in Level 3 lockdown measures, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Wednesday.South Africa has lost 33,000 people to the virus since the start of the national lockdown in March 2020, and over 342,000 people have been arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act which governs the lockdown restrictions, health and police records show.
Among the latest arrests, some 7,455 citizens were arrested or fined for failing to wear masks in public which, under the new lockdown rules, is a mandatory requirement, Cele said.
The minister called on South Africans to heed the government’s call to adhere to the adjusted Covid-19 lockdown regulations, saying the measures were meant to protect themselves and fellow citizens.
“These arrests were made despite people being told continuously to wear their masks. Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public are committing an offence,” Cele said.
A further 834 people were arrested for liquor-selling related infringements like dispensing, distribution and transportation of alcohol, the minister said.
He, however, commended the majority of South Africans for complying with the adjusted regulations.