Man bust with cigarettes during lockdown insists he did nothing wrong

24 July 2020 - 06:00 By Ernest Mabuza
Dental technician Andries Hennop holds a pack of pipe tobacco he says he bought before the lockdown. He hopes the bar code will prove his innocence.
Dental technician Andries Hennop holds a pack of pipe tobacco he says he bought before the lockdown. He hopes the bar code will prove his innocence.
Image: Supplied

When Andries Hennop, 42, from Krugersdorp, was driving home on Friday May 22, he did not expect to spend a few hours behind bars for having cigarettes in his car.

"I was driving from work at the time. I was stopped at a roadblock along Hendrik Potgieter Road, near the Hillfox centre [in Roodepoort], and police asked whether they can look inside my car," he said.

Hennop, a dental technician who also has a farm in Limpopo, said he had two cartons of cigarettes in his car. He also had loose packets of cigarettes in his car.

"The (Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department) officer who arrested me told me I was arrested because I was not allowed to have 'closed-carton cigarettes'. He said if the cartons' [packaging] had been open, I would be fine."

Hennop said the policeman told him he was being arrested for having cigarettes under lockdown.

"There was no discussion of when I bought them, and why I had these cigarettes with me."

After police processed his firearm at the scene, Hennop was driven in the back of a police van while another policeman drove his car to the Honeydew police station.

"I did not give a statement at the time. The charge said I was arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act lockdown rules. I paid R500 bail," he said.

Hennop said he still has a pack of Boxer pipe tobacco that he also bought before lockdown, although he does not have a receipt for it.

"I can remember where I purchased it but I do not have a slip for this.

"The rule [of needing receipts] came afterwards. The reason I had cigarettes in my car is because I have a farm in Limpopo and I give those cigarettes to my employees."

Hennop said he understood the regulations that he was not allowed to buy and sell cigarettes.

"I did not contravene the lockdown rules.

"They can come to my house and farm. I [also] have closed alcohol bottles that I do not have a slip for.

"I don't smoke or drink everything that I buy within a week."

Hennop said he had told AfriForum that he will take the pack of Boxer tobacco to court in an attempt to prove he had not purchased it during lockdown.

"I still have the Boxer tobacco I bought before lockdown, I do not have a receipt for it, but I remember buying it at a [filling station] in Ellisras [Lephalale], but they can take the barcode and trace it to where I bought it."  

"According to me, it is a made-up rule to say I am allowed to have cigarettes but I am not allowed to have a closed pack."

Hennop said he still smokes because he had made provisions before the lockdown.

AfriForum said it has taken up Hennop's case, which is set down for August 21 at the Roodepoort magistrate’s court.

"AfriForum undertook to make its legal team available to oppose criminal charges brought against the accused, as well as to help the accused thereafter in bringing civil claims against the law enforcement authorities as a result of the unlawful arrests," said Marnus Kamfer, legal and risk manager at AfriForum.

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