“Outrageous” Says DA About 230,000 Charged for Contravening Lockdown

A total of 230,000 people have been charged with contravening the lockdown, according to the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, a figure that has been labelled “outrageous” by the Democratic Alliance, especially given that not one person has has gone to jail yet for state capture.

bheki cele police minister south africa
Bheki Cele.

“State Capture cost our country ONE TRILLION RAND,” tweeted DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone today. “Not one person is in jail for the crime. 230 THOUSAND people have been charged for lockdown breaches. Let that sink in and then tell me what you think the ANC government’s priorities are? OUTRAGEOUS!”

Cele, in a briefing today, said that reported crimes had increased since lockdown was amended to Level 4, but “continued to remain low.”

Towards the end of April, while the country was on level 5, police had recorded 107,000 cases opened, while 118 000 people had been charged for contravention of the lockdown regulations.

“In just over a month, this number has more than doubled and is almost at 230 000 for contraventions,” he said, adding that included liquor- and cigarette-related offences, illegal gatherings, failure to confine to a place of residence, cross-border and inter-provincial movement and business-related offences.

AfriForum said in a statement that stock theft in rural areas was starting to escalate.

“Provinces with the highest number of arrests for contravention of the lockdown regulations almost mirror the provincial infection rates with the Western Cape in the lead, followed by Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” he said.

Arrested people were issued fines or released with warning, while some were out on bail and those cases relating to more serious offences were before the respective courts in the country.

“We know that criminals are opportunistic. So organised crime syndicates have taken advantage of the lockdown especially on the ban of alcohol and cigarettes, and have expanded their illegal trade into the illegal market of illicit and counterfeit alcohol and cigarette sales,” Cele said.

Law enforcement has during the lockdown observed an increase in smuggling of liquor and cigarette contraband between South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as the sale of these products on the black market.

“Our lockdown partners the SANDF, have disrupted some of these illegal operations, mainly along South Africa’s borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe; and confiscated contraband including alcohol and cigarettes worth about R1.07 million in March and R1.6 million in April,” he said.

Cell gave a breakdown of serious and violent crime over the most recent period compared to 2019.

29 March to 21 May 2019 27 March to 19 May 2020 (Lockdown) Case Difference
Murder 2 970 1 072 -1 898
Rape 5 350 919 -4 431
Attempted murder 2 571 1 132 -1 439
Assault GBH 22 144 4 348 -17 796
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 14 822 5 397 -9 425


The lockdown also had seen a sharp decrease in reported GBV cases, said Cele.

– Also from SAnews.gov.za