Police have warned members of the public violating the lockdown regulations to be ready to face the full might of the law.

About 17 000 people have been arrested since the beginning of the 21 day national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The deadly virus which was first discovered in China last December has claimed the lives of eleven  South Africans and has infected 1655 .

Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo says the latest arrests include that of a Pretoria man who posted a video mocking the COVID-19 operations and a group of youth in Hammanskraal north of Pretoria who were insulting Police Minister Bheki Cele on social media.

“Police in Littleton arrested a 23-year-old man after posting a video being very abusive saying he doesn’t care about the COVID 19. He was even seen standing in front of the police station also swearing claiming to be taking drugs. We also arrested four people in Temba that have posted a video swearing at the minister of police and two people in KZN for posting fake news on social media.”

Naidoo says a Gauteng man has already been punished for contravening the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations after he was caught selling liquor in Ga-rankuwa north of Pretoria.

In the video below, Cele cautions offenders to adhere to the lockdown restrictions:

Cele welcomes decrease in serious crimes since COVID-19 lockdown 

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Sunday welcomed the general decrease in serious and violent crimes, attributing this to amongst other factors, the prohibition of the sale and movement of liquor since the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.

The 2019-2020 National Crime Statistics are yet to be released officially – however, Cele says the preliminary reports show a decrease.

Analysing the crime and comparing the first week of the lockdown to the same period in 2019, Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that:

– murder cases had dropped from 326 to 94;

– rape cases dropped from 699 to 101;

– cases of assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm, dropped from 2 673 to 456; and

– trio crimes dropped from 8 853 to 2 098.

In the video below, Minister Cele discusses the drop in crime: