There are growing concerns as more people get arrested for violating the country’s COVID-19 regulations. It means many will end up with a criminal record.
Experts say this could have long-term consequences not only for the affected individuals but for the economy as well.
Responding to a Parliamentary question from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in April, Police Minister Bheki Cele divulged that over 400 000 people had been arrested for breaking COVID-19 regulations since the beginning of the national lockdown in March last year.
As the COVID-19 restrictions and their enforcement is being tightened again amid the ongoing third wave of infections, experts say the growing number of arrests is worrying.
Infographic: SA moves to Level 3:
Legal Expert from Adams and Adams Attorneys Mthokozisi Maphumulo says, “Most of those who are arrested are found breaking regulations on gatherings and the night-time curfews. Normally, they are let go after paying an admission of guilt fine. The problem is, by so doing, the person ends up with a criminal record.”
More people violating lockdown regulations:
With the COVID-19 pandemic still having no end in sight, there’s now a distinct possibility that many people will end up with criminal records as time goes on.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the government is considering imposing tighter lockdown measures, especially in Gauteng, as the number of infections continue to rise unabated. With that will come stricter enforcement, which means more arrests and more people ending up with criminal records.
President concerned about rising infections especially in Gauteng:
SA records over 11 000 new cases in 24 hours
South Africa has recorded 11 093 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 1 843 572.
This increase represents a 23.7 % positivity rate. The majority of new cases today are from the Gauteng province (67%), followed by the Western Cape (8%).
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has also confirmed a further 297 COVID-19 related deaths bringing total fatalities to 59 092 to date.
An increase of 575 hospital admissions have been reported in the past 24 hours. 12 633 235 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
The latest coronavirus statistics in South Africa: