Liquor regulations, planned protests & human trafficking: police on level 1

Police minister Bheki Cele said more than 16,000 officers have contracted the coronavirus and 215 have died from conditions related to Covid-19.
Image: GCIS

Police minister Bheki Cele expressed concern about liquor outlets which violate lockdown regulations by hosting illegal gatherings and operating beyond 10pm.

He said the department has also been inundated with complaints and reports about gender-based violence (GBV) and human trafficking.

On Tuesday Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole briefed the media on the updated lockdown regulations for level 1. The address followed that by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday when he announced further easing of the regulations.

Here are five key highlights from the briefing on Tuesday:

Human trafficking — Cele

The minister said while kidnapping and human trafficking are serious issues which are being investigated by Interpol, he warned about misinformation and people who are exploiting legitimate concerns of the public.

“There is a lot of fake news because it is known people are scared and sensitive about the matter. Many people gave addresses of places where they said this is happening. Those places have been checked. One of these places was found to be a police barracks, and another was found to be a financial institution where people were doing legitimate business.”

Police officers infected with Covid-19 — Sitole 

The commissioner said the department issued safety protocols and instructions to its members nationally, and violations are considered to be misconduct. The department will strengthen its internal processes to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“When they are on duty, they must put on their masks. We will be happy to receive reports if they don’t comply with these instruction ,” said Sitole.

Cele said more than 16,000 officers have contracted the coronavirus and 215 have died from conditions related to Covid-19.

September 23 protests — Cele 

Cele said police will be on high alert during the #23SeptemberCleanSA protests. Protesters will demonstrate at home affairs offices about undocumented foreign nationals in SA.

“If the protest is about foreign nationals, that does carry the danger of it being xenophobic. In SA everyone has the right to march unarmed. We will be watching the protests and hope they will be peaceful and will not ignite xenophobic sentiments.”

Firearm licences — Sitole 

Sitole said the process for firearm licence renewal was not disrupted by the lockdown.

“Firearm licence offices are operational. Those whose firearm licences are expiring can approach those offices. During the lockdown there is some flexibility we exercise because some people could not renew. We treat each case on its individual merits.”

Liquor regulations — Cele

The minister said it is up to the liquor board to take action against owners of liquor establishments who violate the regulations.

“It is the owners and managers who are arrested and taken through the processes. People who are found there are let go and alcohol does not leave the premises. We report to the liquor board and it is up to them to take the law further, but we do open criminal records.”

by Cebelihle Bhengu

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