Buffalo City wants harsher punishment for businesses breaking COVID-19 rules

This after a popular East London restaurant and pub was caught disregarding directives, when a video surfaced on social media.

In the video, revellers at an East London venue can be seen downing liquor while maintaining close contact. Picture: Screenshot

CAPE TOWN – The Buffalo City Municipality wants harsher punishment for businesses found flouting COVID-19 regulations.

This after a popular East London restaurant and pub was caught disregarding directives, when a video surfaced on social media.

It showed revellers dancing in close proximity in the overcrowded venue, and only one person could be seen wearing a mask.

The Buffalo City municipality's Samkelo Ngwenya said the aim was not for businesses to be shut down, but for owners to think twice before placing profit before lives.

The criminal matter against the owner of Buccaneers concluded on Monday, after he opted to pay a R5,000 fine for exceeding the venue's capacity.

Ngwenya said the metro was looking into further action.

"The fine, in itself is not enough. We also want to send a strong message so that people cannot just get away with paying money and continuing as if there were no risks taken and people's lives jeopardised."

Ngwenya said laws governing non-compliance should be reconsidered.

"We actually need to look into what exactly we are able to prosecute, and what exactly we are able to punish...the fact that we can only charge in terms of the premises' numbers. There's no charge around social distancing, or not putting protocols in place."

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