As the year is officially coming to an end, South Africans will be celebrating New Year’s Eve under no curfew for the first time since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Residents in Kimberley in the Northern Cape have expressed excitement.
The midnight to 4 am curfew has been lifted following a special cabinet meeting. Government said there will be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people. Residents in Kimberley say this is a huge relief for those planning to spend time with family and friends.
“On New Year’s Eve, I just want to chill with my family, my whole family because COVID showed us that you will have a brother or sister or grandmother today and the next moment you won’t have them anymore. So, I just want to chill with my family,” says a resident.
“It means we can now spend time with our families. We can have braai. We can be happy man. It is going to be a happy day. We are very happy for the curfew that is being relaxed,” adds another resident.
Alcohol establishments that have licenses to operate beyond 11 pm will revert back to full license conditions. Residents in the entertainment industry added that this will enable them to earn a decent income.
One of the entertainers in Galeshewe in Kimberley, Thabo Mogotsi, explains.
“It has been quite a strenuous time and with everything now being relaxed it gives us more pleasure but at the same time. It gives us more pressure because we need to work more. It gives us more time to make more money, businesses are going to make more. Communities will be able to spend time together, families will spend more time together and it is a good time. It is quite interesting for businesses as well. Personally, I think we regulations more relaxed it means more time with family, more time for businesses to make money and for artists.”
The police in the Northern Cape, however, say they will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach. Acting Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Hennie van Rensburg says they are ready for any eventuality and that there will be increased police visibility in all public areas.
“There will be blue lights patrols visits to the night clubs, liquor outlets and recreational facilities, random stop and searches as well as vehicle checkpoints focusing on drunk and driving and traffic offenses. A stern warning is issued to residents who intent on discharging fireworks in the municipal areas. If apprehended you can be charged according to the municipal by-laws and will be facing prosecution. The Northern Cape will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach.”
Whilst many residents look forward to the New Year, many admit they will still have to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus going into 2022. Reporting by Katleho Morapela
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