Help for woman arrested selling atchaar during lockdown in Soweto
South Africans have been moved by an incident where a woman was arrested for allegedly selling atchaar without a permit in Dobsonville, Soweto.
The arrest was caught on camera on Thursday while police, government officials and the defence force were patrolling the area to ensure residents were adhering to the lockdown regulations.
“I promise you. I was no longer selling. I was waiting for a taxi. The taxis are going to be available from 3pm,” the woman was heard saying in Zulu, pleading her case as two officers held her arms on either side.
They escorted her through the crowded street to a police van.
In another video, she was seen being loaded into the back of a police van along with her bucket of atchaar.
Social media influencer and lawyer Tumi Sole was one of those who offered to help after seeing the footage.
He headed to the Dobsonville police station where she was being held, willing to pay her bail and secure her release.
Hours after the street vendor's arrest however, Sole said he was still at the police station, trying to secure her release.
He posted a picture of her, seated behind bars.
Sole explained why the incident touched him.
“I grew up in Dobsonville and I understand the struggles of our people. This is in no way discounting that she doesn’t have a permit but I can’t let her become part of the prison stats due to her not having a permit,” he tweeted.
Several other people had also inquired about the woman’s bail amount, offering to pay.
Businessman Vusi Thembekwayo reached out to Sole, also offering aid to the woman.
He offered to donate R10,000 “to help her survive this lockdown”, Thembekwayo said.
At around 9.30pm, Sole tweeted that the woman had been finally released.
This however, was not the end of her legal woes. She was still scheduled to appear in the Roodepoort magistrate's court on Friday.
She was charged with “failure to confine oneself to their place of residence during the lockdown”.
She was one of scores of people arrested for breaking lockdown regulations. Among them was a butchery owner operating at the Baragwanath taxi rank.
His business was shut down after he was found allegedly selling rotten meat, expired sauces and failing to comply with hygiene standards.