Cele says SA citizens ‘will get a criminal record’ if they fail to wear a mask

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Bheki Cele has issued a strict warning to all South Africans during Level 3 of lockdown. The police minister has made it clear that law enforcement officials are ready to clamp-down on those who refuse to wear a mask – and offenders are likely to find themselves with a criminal record if they flout the rules.

‘Not wearing a mask will get you a criminal record’ – Bheki Cele

Cele has noted – with great concern – the arrest of 7 455 citizens who have been caught not wearing masks in public already. The directive has been in place since the end of December, and the cops are more than happy to enforce these regulations. Speaking to eNCA this week, the hatted politician explained the arrest process for any ‘anti-maskers’…

“Now we will take you to the police station and we will take your fingerprints. You choose to pay a fine or you choose to see the magistrate. Both those processes give you a criminal record and that’s what South Africans must be very wary of – that this will immediately give you a criminal record – and we know what criminal records do to your life.”

Bheki Cele

Police minister urges compliance ‘to save lives’

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On Wednesday, Bheki Cele released a follow-up statement through SAPS, defending the hardline stance taken by the police when it comes to public mask-wearing. The minister’s adamant that this is a matter of life and death, and has called for all citizens of South Africa to ensure the safety of others, while ‘respecting the laws of the land’.

“These arrests were made despite people being told continuously to wear their masks. Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public, are committing an offence. The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you. Failure to comply with the regulations will result in more people being infected, and dying.”

“I want to stress the point that the law enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests as these laws are there to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus that’s ravaging our country. However, officers of the SAPS are left with no choice but to act in the interest of saving lives. I urge everyone who resides within our borders to respect the laws of this land.”

Bheki Cele

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