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First lockdown arrests made as police raid taverns and clubs

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Several people have been arrested for allegedly disregarding South Africa’s lockdown rules that officially kicked in at midnight on Thursday.

SABC News reported that the South African Police Service (SAPS) raided taverns and clubs where people were gathering and drinking in the early hours of Friday morning.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a three-week national shutdown, as part of wide-ranging interventions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, News24 reported.

This week, ahead of the lockdown, Police Minister Bheki Cele warned of consequences for those who attempt to leave their homes, unless for essential purposes, such as buying groceries, seeking medical attention, collecting grants, buying medication, or emergencies.

No store is allowed to sell alcohol or cigarettes during the 21 days and anyone who contravenes the lockdown regulations will be found guilty of a criminal offence and will be fined or jailed for a period not exceeding six months, or both, Cele warned during a media briefing on Wednesday.

Restaurants, clubs, taverns and bars must also be closed during this period.

But shortly after the lockdown started, people were still revelling in Johannesburg.

SABC News broadcast footage of a watering hole in Hillbrow that was forced to close its doors after midnight, with several people taken into custody for violating lockdown regulations.

The footage showed the Main Den Pub being closed under police guard and several people being loaded on the back of a police van.

Stockpiling on booze

Hundreds of shoppers gathered from as early as 08:30 on Thursday to stock up on liquor at various stores ahead of the lockdown.

On Wednesday, a KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) man, who tested positive for Covid-19 and continued with business as usual, was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Tuesday that 19 people in the eThekwini Metro were under investigation for violating measures relating to the national state of disaster Ramaphosa declared.

Most of the 19 allegedly committed the offences at the Durban beachfront, where bathing in the ocean was prohibited because of the virus.

Source: News24

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