Police Minister Bheki Cele has apologised to the Muslim community for, what he terms, were blasphemous remarks made during the arrest of worshipers on Saturday for contravening lockdown regulations. The congregants were arrested in Mbuzini, Mpumalanga, during a prayer gathering.
I'm case you missed the video…
— Ms. Africa ? (@refilweafrica) April 26, 2020
In a video circulating on social media, one of the police officers asks congregants whether the congregants or Mohammed are bigger than the President.
“Police Minister General Bheki Cele has taken note of a video clip circulating on social media now confirmed by the SAPS as depicting the arrest of about 24 worshippers on Saturday. The group was arrested for contravening COVID-19 disaster management lockdown regulations in relation of prohibition of gatherings a matter that is currently under an urgent investigation by the SAPS to establish the identity of the person behind such sacrilege. Minister Cele wishes to emphasise that police have a constitutional obligation to enforce the laws of the country,” says the Minister’s Acting Spokesperson Mathapelo Peters says Cele.
Cele has called on religious leaders to observe the lockdown regulations and not organise gatherings.
Social media users were divided over the issue on Saturday night. While some berated the worshipers for gathering amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, others slammed the police for their behaviour, saying they could have effected arrests without being offensive.
Taxi driver arrested for violating lockdown regulations
Meanwhile, a taxi driver has been arrested for overloading and contravening the COVID-19 traffic regulations in Mamelodi, Pretoria, on Saturday.
It is alleged that the driver was transporting 22 passengers in a 15-seater minibus. Gauteng traffic police spokesperson Obed Sibasa says the driver did not have a permit to be on the road and his vehicle has been impounded.
“Eleven adults and 11 children between ages 3 and 13 with six of the children unaccompanied, that’s subject of the police investigation. It is alleged that the driver drove from Marble hall, Limpopo to Gauteng using gravel roads or backyard routes when he was arrested in Mamelodi contravening COVID-19 transport regulations in terms of loading capacity.”