50 wedding-goers arrested in KZN for violating lockdown regulations

The bride, groom, their pastor and guests were all arrested in eNseleni outside Richards Bay.

KZN police on 5 April 2020 arrested 50 people who were attending a wedding at eNseleni outside Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal for failing to comply with the national lockdown regulations. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – Police on Sunday arrested 50 people who were attending a wedding at eNseleni outside Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal for failing to comply with the national lockdown regulations. The bride, groom, and their pastor were among those arrested.

“This will see the about-to-be newlyweds spending their honeymoon under stringent bail conditions. Amongst the arrested, is the pastor who was officiating in the matrimony,” the uMhlathuze Local Municipality said in a statement.

According to the statement, all those who attended the wedding were taken to eMpangeni Police Station for their cases to be registered and for bail arrangements.

The group was charged for contravening, amongst others, the National Disaster Act and defying the lockdown regulations as set by government to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. According to the lockdown regulations, no social gatherings - including weddings - are allowed and only 50 people are permitted to attend a funeral.

Their cases were expected to be dealt with after the 21-days lockdown period.

At the same time, 67 people were also arrested in the municipality during the first week of the national lockdown for not complying with the regulations.

“The culprits were pinned down by the City of uMhlathuze Law Enforcement Unit during the operations in different areas. The South African Police Services arrested more people within the city with the assistance of the South African Defence Force, for breaching the regulations of the National Disaster Act, which called for everyone in the country to stay at home,” the municipality said in the statement.

Among those arrested, six people were arrested for selling liquor, seven were found to be illegal immigrants, and four were found picnicking in front of the Richards Bay Civic Centre Park.

“Some car washes were closed down and pedestrians forced to go back to their houses after not providing sufficient reasons to be out loitering on the streets.”

Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo said residents were generally adhering to the national lockdown regulations, but the payment of social grants last week posed a challenge for law enforcement agencies as pensioners and grant recipients came to towns and shopping centres in their numbers.

Mhlongo said that was a challenge in terms of social distancing, discouraging panic buying, and limiting the number of passengers on public transport.

“We are appealing to everyone to take this virus seriously and work with government to clamp it down before it ravages the whole nation. The number of people being infected is rising sharply and now we are beginning to see people dying in our country like in the other countries of the world,” Mhlongo said.

“The lockdown by government is aimed at stopping the spread and to assist people not to be exposed to the virus by sitting at home for the duration of the lockdown. We must commend all those citizens who are abiding with the rules and encourage them to do so until the end. We believe this is for our own health and survival,” he added.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.