Gqeberha police had a tough task on their hands on Saturday night when over 1 000 teenagers descended on the Summerstrand beachfront in taxis to take part in the annual Skhothane Show without wearing masks or paying any mind to social distancing protocols. Video footage circulating on social media shows the youngsters drinking and dancing in the street outside a Caltex garage, and police are following up on several incidents that took place while the illicit festivities took place.
Despite having overtly flouted Disaster Management laws prohibiting large gatherings while the spread of COVID-19 remains a serious concern, none of the teenagers were arrested and the crowd was dispersed shortly before midnight.
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse Van Rensburg said that police were able to deal with the situation without putting any teenagers in handcuffs, but said that they were strongly warned against gathering in such large groups in the future.
“It is alleged that on Saturday evening, large crowds of youth aged between 13- 19 converged on the beachfront in groups allegedly taking the annual Skhothane Show which is normally held in the township to the beachfront,” she said.
“Once police were alerted to the large gathering of youth SAPS Humewood, Metro police and Public Order Policing responded and broke up the bash. The youth arrived in taxis to the beachfront. Police addressed the teenagers and warned them of the Lockdown restrictions and noncompliance of the DMA will result in their arrest. Thereafter they dispersed.”
GQEBERHA POLICE FOLLOWING UP ON UNRELATED INCIDENTS
Janse Van Rensburg said that no cases of malicious damage to property were opened, but said that police are investigating a case of robbery which allegedly occurred in Beach Road outside a café near the event.
“It is alleged that the complainant (16) was waiting for an e-hailing taxi on Saturday at approximately 23:15 when she was approached by three suspects armed with knives.,” she said.
“They demanded her cell phone and threatened to stab her. The one suspect grabbed the phone and ran away. The other two suspects aged 32 and 35 were scuffling with the complainant when a Metro Police vehicle intervened and two suspects arrested. At this stage it is unclear whether the 16-year-old complainant was part of the group that attended the Skhothane show.”
She also clarified that contrary to reports that emerged earlier on Sunday, an incident in which a man died in the Summerstrand area is unrelated to the gathering.
“The case of inquest whereby a man passed away in Lo Roche Drive last night, is not related. It is alleged that on Saturday at 22:40, SAPS Humewood attended to a complaint of a man who passed away. On arrival they met the complainant who phoned 10111. No visible injuries were observed and the cause of death will only be determined once a post mortem is done.”
POLICE WARN PARENTS TO BE VIGILANT OVER CHILDREN
She said that parents and guardians need to be more vigilant and ensure that their children do not break lockdown laws and risk becoming infected with COVID-19.
“This is very unfortunate that the parents of the children allowed them to come out in such numbers seeing that we are still in a lockdown and that large gatherings is still not allowed, wearing of masks is still compulsory when in public,” she said.
Source The South African