Police Minister Bheki Cele has strongly warned against restaurants attempting to conceal and sell alcohol to patrons amid the new lockdown regulations, saying law enforcement authorities will not hesitate to confiscate trading licences.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to lockdown Level 3, saying it was necessary to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Addressing the nation last night, Ramaphosa banned the sale of alcohol for two weeks, placed a curfew across the country from 9PM to 6AM daily – as well as ordering that non-essential establishment, such as bars and restaurants, must close at 8PM.

Level 3 restrictions will remain in force until the 15th of January next year – when they will be reviewed.

Briefing the media as part of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) on the adjustments to Level 3 lockdown restrictions, Cele said: “There are people that are causing some economic sabotage when it comes to alcohol and they open the black market. Our eyes are open on that. The non-sale of alcohol means non-sale of alcohol. Don’t put alcohol in your teapots in restaurants. Don’t put alcohol in the bottles written zero alcohol, yet you put alcohol in there. We know your tricks, don’t do that. We will make sure that you lose your licence and permit to trade.”

The Police Minister has also sent a stern warning to South Africans that failure to wear a mask in public spaces will result in being arrested.

Failure to wear a mask in public can result in arrest, a fine and up to six months’ imprisonment.

“The enforcement has been heightened. We are not just going to remind you to wear the mask. If you don’t, you will be arrested. We would love not to arrest you but if you avail yourself we will take the opportunity of arresting you. So keep those masks on all the time in the public space, most of you have criminal records and you know what those do in your life going forward. So we are shouting and making calls for people to respect this.”

Earlier, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while clarifying the adjustments to Level 3 lockdown restrictions, also reiterated the importance of wearing a face mask or covering, especially when engaging with people outside of your household.

“When we are with people that are not from the same household, it is also useful o wear a mask, even if you are at home. When people come in and out you don’t know where they have come from, whether they are asymptomatic. Wearing a mask is now mandatory. If you are not wearing a mask you are committing an offence, you could be fined, sent to prison – so it is important to wear a mask.”

Full Briefing: