‘Arrest them!’: Cele tells police to crack whip on those flouting Covid-19 rules

Bheki Cele says enforcing compliance with Covid-19 regulations will be discussed by the national coronavirus command council.
Image: GCIS

Police minister Bheki Cele on Thursday said people found to be flouting Covid-19 safety protocols must be arrested.

He was speaking to police while kicking off his #OperationTightGrip safer festive season operations inspection tour in the Western Cape as Covid-19 infections begin to surge in parts of the province, the SABC reported.

“When you stop a taxi and people don’t have masks, arrest the damn driver … When you go to supermarkets, when you go to malls, management there still have a responsibility,” (to ensure shoppers had access to sanitiser and entered wearing a face mask).

“You raid these malls and when people there don’t have masks, you go to the manager of that mall and arrest him or her. That’s what the law says, they must remain responsible for that,” he said in Cape Town.

During a walkabout at one of the largest taxi ranks in the city he spotted a driver flouting the rules. “Where is your mask,” he shouted, pointing a finger at the driver who quickly put it back on.

People don’t put [on] the mask but they have them in their pockets,” he said while visiting Du Noon.

“It’s very rare that when you ask where is your mask and that person does not have a mask. So it’s not a question of unavailability, it’s not a question of affordability. It’s a question of non-compliance.”

Cele, who is a member of the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) said he would raise this at the council which was expected to meet on Thursday. “We need to get an extra effort for people to [put] their masks on,” he added.