Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has warned that as a last resort people could be arrested for failure to wear a face mask in public spaces.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that it is mandatory to wear masks when in public – including supermarkets, workplaces and traveling in public transport.

Lamola says compliance officers must ensure people are wearing masks when entering public buildings and only as a last resort to call the police.

He says, “It is meant to play out that firstly the compliance officer must not allow such a person to enter the building, taxi or retail shop. Members of the public or the police could still request the person to comply. If all those fail, then an arrest will be made…”

“In terms of the offences that we have, they carry with them a sanction that includes a criminal record or imprisonment. Up to now, no imprisonment has been imposed. Most have been fines imposed by the magistrates,” added Lamola.

President Ramaphosa says wearing of masks is compulsory:

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma emphasized the need for taxi drivers and commuters to ensure they wear their masks in the correct way to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that taxis, undertaking local trips, will be permitted to increase their capacity to 100% while adhering to safety regulations.

Those undertaking long trips will have to adhere to 70% occupancy.

There are 287 796 confirmed COVID-19 cases – of which around 138 241 have recovered and 4 172 people have died from COVID-19-related illnesses in the country.

Dlamini-Zuma said, “You can’t enter any form of public transport without wearing a mask. So the drivers must make sure everyone who enters their transport has a mask. It’s not only the responsibility of the driver, passengers must also make sure that nobody comes into the taxi without wearing a mask. It must be a collective responsibility to ensure that everyone does wear a mask. If it is not, there are penalties.”

 In the Infographic below are more guidelines on wearing masks: