Exactly 57 days after South Africa went into a state of seclusion due to the Covid 19 pandemic, nearly 230,000 people have already been arrested for violations of seclusion regulations.
Police Minister Bheki Cele gave feedback on police actions over the past two months.
When nearly 107,000 cases were filed by the end of April and 118,000 people were charged with violating secrecy regulations, that figure has almost doubled since then, Cele said. This includes liquor and cigarette related offenses.
“Provinces with the highest number of arrests for violating the lockdown regulations reflect the provincial infection rates, with the Western Cape ahead, followed by the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.”
Cele says crime syndicates are taking advantage of the restriction period, especially with regard to the smuggling of liquor and cigarettes. Over the past few weeks there has also been an increase in the smuggling of these items between South Africa and Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In March, police seized drinks and cigarettes of about R1.07m, while that figure rose to R1.6m in April.
Cele said there has been a significant reduction in contact crimes such as domestic violence, hijackings and robberies since April, although it is now beginning to show a slight increase under level 4 of the seclusion regulations.