Speaking at a security cluster briefing on the stringent measures that will come into effect during the lockdown period, Ministers stressed the seriousness of the situation.  They warned that people who don’t comply will face the full might of the law.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says alcohol consumption in public areas and the sale of alcohol during the 21-day national lockdown is prohibited.

Cele was briefing media in Pretoria about measures that his department will be taking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“All consumption premises where liquor is sold. This time you are not buying liquor between 9 and 6. All consumption premises including bottle stores where liquor is sold … when you go to these supermarkets there are potions that sell liquor, they shall not. If we find liquor in your boot, that’s crime. For 21 days, please stay sober.”

Cele also refuted earlier statements that jogging and dog-walking will be allowed during the lock-down. He says anyone who breaks the law will be liable for a fine or six months in prison.

“Restaurants shall not operate. There is no need to move around. There shall be no dogs that will be walked. If you break these laws, you are six months in, or a fine or both. The law will act harshly on you.”

Access to transport 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that all train services and passenger flights will come to a total standstill Thursday night.

He also made it clear that minibus taxis, as well as taxi services like Uber and Bolt, will only be allowed to transport essential workers and people who have been given permission to travel during the lockdown period, from 5 o’clock in the morning to 9 am and from 4 o’clock in the afternoons to 8 o’clock at night.

They will only be allowed on the roads if they are carrying essential workers and people who have been permitted to travel.

He added that vehicles licenced for 8 (occupants) may only carry 3, and cars licensed for 4 people may only carry one.

“A vehicle licensed to carry up to four people will only be permitted to load one person. A vehicle licensed to carry up to eight passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of three passengers. Limited bus operations will only be allowed for purposes of rendering essential services. All cross-border road passenger movements will be prohibited.”

Deployment of SANDF members 

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has slammed what she calls the spreading of fake news on social media relating to the deployment of SANDF members across the country. Mapisa-Nqakula has clarified that no soldiers have been deployed yet and any visuals on social media of information that states otherwise are fake news.

“There is no deployment of soldiers currently in the streets of SA. You may have seen them moving in transit, you have not seen soldiers patrolling, manning roadblocks because in the first instance we are protecting South Africans against a virus. Our number of escalated and therefore we now have to come and support the police in enforcing the law by ensuring that everybody remains behind doors.”

Home Affairs to provide essential services

Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi announces that Home Affairs will only provide essential services such as issuing death certificates and temporary IDs. He says there will be no issuing of other documents including new marriage certificates, new births certificates, and passports.

Motsoaledi says only goods and no people will be allowed to move through the country’s borders during the lockdown period. He adds that only 18 border posts will remain open from Thursday night to allow for the transportation of goods. Motsoaledi also announced that people who have circulated false news about the pandemic will be charged.

“I want to state here that this fake news tends to be more dangerous sometimes as much as the virus itself because it worries people. Because of this and because we are on possession of the original source of the pictures I’ve instructed my officials to go an lay a charge with the police. This is the first test case of whether fake news can be charged or not. We are going to charge these ones and we have identified at least 3 of them.”

Cases of COVID-19 at correctional centres

Speaking at the same briefing, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says there have been 16 suspected coronavirus cases among officials at correctional centres across the country. He says 11 of the officials have tested negative for the virus and results for the remaining five are pending.

“There have been processes of sanitisation; deep cleaning (at) some of the correctional centres, which are still continuing, as we speak. There have been suspected cases from our officials about 16 officials. 11 of them have been cleared from the processes of testing. We are still awaiting results for the five officials.”

Various Ministers deliberating on security measures for COVID-19 ahead of the 21-day lockdown: