Police Minister Bheki Cele says some South Africans are not obeying lockdown regulations and warned level 4 regulations could be reversed as Covid-19 has the potential of “wiping off humankind”.
Cele was speaking during a joint law enforcement operation in which cars were stopped to check for compliance in Krugersdorp on Friday.
As the country entered its first day of a level 4 lockdown, physical distancing was not observed in some areas.
“I saw this thing of running, I think we will be making some form of recommendation to the National Command Council about it.
“Not just that, I saw … people running in clubs, walking with their dogs and they were even swimming – something that is [criminalised] in the regulations,” Cele said.
He added the police were calling on South Africans to refrain from breaking lockdown regulations and only conduct essential business.
“This is a problem… I don’t know if they are taking this matter seriously, they should be.
“The fact that we have arrested so many people who were drinking in their cars tells you that we will have to work hard, and by the way, remember what the president said – if things are not going a proper way, reversal is easy… From what we have seen, South Africa is misbehaving,” Cele said.
He added people’s actions currently suggested “we can forget about level 3” and did not “deserve” the relaxation of restrictions.
“The flouting of regulations was not because people did not know about them,” Cele said.
“People know. What I guess they do not believe is that there have been a lot of deaths.
“As South Africans, we are still lucky but we are beginning to pick up – the day before yesterday was the first time ever we had 354 at a go … and 10 deaths in one day,” Cele said.
He added it was possible South Africa could follow in the footsteps of Italy or the US where tens of thousands of people have died.
“The problem is that it will not only be you who dies, you will die with the rest of us. This thing has the potential to wipe off the nation, wiping off humankind,” Cele said.