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Cele: Over 20,000 people arrested for breaking lockdown rules in past 2 weeks

Police Minister Bheki Cele said he's particularly concerned by the refusal of many to wear their masks, adding that 7,455 citizens had been apprehended since 29 December for endangering their own lives and those around them by refusing to cover up.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday said that more than 20,000 people had been caught breaking lockdown regulations over the past two weeks alone.

He said that he was particularly concerned by the refusal of many to wear their masks, adding that 7,455 citizens had been apprehended since 29 December for endangering their own lives and those around them by refusing to cover up.

Police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said: “These arrests were made despite people continuously being told to wear their masks. Wearing masks is mandatory and people caught without one in public are committing a criminal offence. Wearing a mask is both for your safety and the safety of those around you.”

More than 800 others were handcuffed for buying or selling alcohol.

These arrests bring the number of people caught breaking the rules since the start of the lockdown last year to 342,000.

Meanwhile, a Milnerton man in Cape Town was set to appear in court on Wednesday for violating the Disaster Management Act.

Besides breaking the curfew, the man was also caught transporting six boxes of whiskey and a box of mandrax tablets, worth an estimated R30,000, in the boot of his car on Monday evening.

Police said he also had more than R24,000 with him that he couldn't account for.

The police's Andre Traut said the man was arrested at a vehicle checkpoint at around half-past nine.

“While the majority of the public confine themselves to their homes, a 44-year-old man took the streets, not only disregarding the curfew, but in the boot of his vehicle, he had boxes of whiskey and boxes of mandrax tablets. He will make a court appearance on Wednesday in the Cape Town Magistrates Court.”

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