Two arrested after Pretoria funeral as cops warn Covid-19 rules will be enforced

Police warn that they will arrest family members and mourners who break the law regarding attendance at funerals.
Police warn that they will arrest family members and mourners who break the law regarding attendance at funerals.
Image: 123RF/nelson99

Gauteng police have warned they are ready to clamp down on mourners when the number of people in attendance at funerals surpasses 50, as stipulated by the Disaster Management Act (DMA) regulations.

Last week police arrested a 33-year-old woman from Mabopane, near Pretoria.

“On July 18 2020, police traced and arrested a 33-year-old woman in Mabopane after she appeared in a video clip clearly contravening the DMA regulations, and daring police to ‘stand aside and leave them to bury the deceased’ during a funeral that took place on July  17 2020 in Soshanguve,” said Brig Mathapelo Peters.

“A number of other video clips related to the same funeral service are circulating on social media, and these confirm the number of mourners in attendance was by far in excess of the regulated limit of 50 people,” Peters said.

The woman is scheduled to appear in the Soshanguve magistrate’s court on September 3.

A relative of the person being buried was also arrested and charged. Peters said this person was "responsible for the crime that took place as "he was identified as the convener or organiser of the funeral.

“[He was charged] for failing to ensure adherence to the regulations by the mourners,” Peters said.

The matter was postponed to August 24.

Police said that together with soldiers, they would ensure compliance with lockdown regulations.

“With Gauteng province recently declared the epicentre of the coronavirus, areas such as Garankuwa and Soshanguve have this past week been cited by the provincial department of health as among those topping the list of Covid-19 hotspots in the province.

"It is with this in mind that security forces in the province are tightening measures to enforce the regulations, following President Cyril Ramaphosa's address to the nation when he called for greater personal responsibility,” said Peters.

Acting police commissioner for Gauteng Maj-Gen Johan Ndlovu emphasised the regulations were in place to protect people from the coronavirus.

"The Covid-19 pandemic, and people losing their lives to the virus, is no joke. Anyone who deliberately flouts the regulations exposes those around them to a high risk of contracting the coronavirus,” Ndlovu said.

“Mourners who do not fall within the list of persons permitted to attend funerals during the lockdown place an unnecessary extra burden on the grieving family, who deserve the space to give their loved ones a dignified send-off without the added responsibility of ensuring compliance to regulations during the funeral," he said.

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