From 'smuggling' bae to partying without masks: 5 times South Africans defied lockdown regulations

21 December 2020 - 14:00 By cebelihle bhengu
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President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in March that SA would be on lockdown.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in March that SA would be on lockdown.
Image: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

SA has been at various stages of lockdown since March 27, a measure taken by the government to arrest the spread of the coronavirus. Most economic activities were halted, only allowing businesses deemed as essential to operate. 

Among the regulations initially put in place was the closure of borders to international travellers and travelling between provinces. Restaurants and nightclubs, among other establishments, were also closed during level five. 

While many adhered to the regulations, some made headlines for violating them and getting fined in the process. 

Here are five times South Africans violated regulations during the various stages of lockdown: 

Remember that man who got arrested for smuggling his lover out of Gauteng?

Less than a month into hard lockdown, a man was arrested for attempting to smuggle his girlfriend out of Gauteng to Mpumalanga. Police had been conducting roadblocks when they asked the man to open his car boot and found the woman inside. She was also arrested for consenting to being “smuggled”.

Booze smugglers and SAPS impostors 

Gauteng police officers arrested male motorists who attempted to smuggle booze and two who impersonated SAPS officers. A man caught in Sandton hid boxes of booze in his car and disguised it as trash. However, after searching through the “boxes of trash”, police discovered boxes and bottles of alcohol.

Another motorist, travelling from the province to Free State, had his stash confiscated after he packed it in his luggage.

Traffic officers arrested two men for impersonating SAPS officials during a roadblock near Bekkersdal in May. Department spokesperson Ofentse Morwane said the men had been stopped for speeding when one of the officers spotted a SAPS identity in the driver's wallet.

Morwane said: “According to preliminary reports, the officers pulled over a black Toyota Fortuner and requested a driver’s licence. While the driver was on the verge of handing out his driver’s licence, one of the officers spotted a police identity in the driver’s wallet. 

“The officers asked the driver and the passenger if they were members of the SA Police Service and they both confirmed to be police officers. Upon examining the identity card closely, the officers found that it was tampered with and fraudulent.

“The officers immediately arrested the two male suspects.”

Matric pupils contract Covid-19 in Cape Town “super-spreader” event

Matric pupils were among 59 people who contracted Covid-19 after partying at a nightclub without wearing masks in October. 

A letter sent to parents by a school in the southern suburbs read: “most of the pupils present [at the club] were matrics. As a consequence of the non-observance of safety protocols at that club, there is now a large number of Covid-positive matrics in neighbouring schools.”

The Western Cape department of education said a contact tracing team from the department of health had been dispatched and reiterated that social gatherings must be avoided to halt the spread of the virus.

Sandton and Midrand clubs shut down for operating beyond curfew 

Blackdoor nightclub in Sandton was shut down after police found that it was operating beyond the night curfew, with many people partying without face masks.

JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla said alcohol was confiscated and that no arrests were made as the owner was not present during the crackdown. Fihla said the club owner would get a fine.

Employees of XO Lounge in Midrand were each fined R1,000 after they were found at the club beyond the midnight curfew. Police said though the club was not operating, no-one was allowed out after midnight without a permit. 

Fake liquor licences and fines for KZN traders

A report from economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube revealed that some liquor traders in KwaZulu-Natal were fined for operating beyond midnight, while others were charged and fined for selling takeaway liquor.

The report, released in October, said the owner of Monate Tavern in Vryheid was fined R5,000 for trading after midnight. This after a video of tavern patrons dancing and socialising was posted on social media.

Liquor traders in Ematsheni in the Uthukela District, Osizweni in the Amajuba District, and Newlands East and Umhlanga in Durban, among other areas, were fined for trading liquor with bogus licences. 

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