Scores arrested for not wearing masks, breaking curfew

'Lawlessness in Mthatha scares away investors'

Law enforcement officers confiscate alcohol, illegal firearms and drugs during a roadblock at Mthatha.
Law enforcement officers confiscate alcohol, illegal firearms and drugs during a roadblock at Mthatha.
Image: SUPPLIED

Forty-five people were arrested at the weekend in the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) region in the Eastern Cape for breaking  lockdown regulations.

KSD spokesperson Sonwabo Mampoza said  10 were arrested and fined for breaking  curfew and a number were fined for not wearing masks.

Municipal authorities have been battling lawlessness, particularly in Mthatha, for years.  It has earned a bad reputation as a place where people feel they do not have to obey the law,” Mampoza said.

They were trying to bring back the rule of law and  ensure   proper traffic management in the town. “If we don’t deal with these issues,   we  encourage crime to thrive and flourish.”

Mampoza said the current situation had an adverse impact on the municipality’s efforts to  bring in major  investments from outside.

He said close to 250 illegally parked cars were towed  by KSD and nearly 900 fines  issued  for various traffic violations since mid-December.

“Despite warning signs, motorists were parking illegally on the streets, often contributing to traffic congestion. Investors cannot come to a town where there is no law. We have lots of investment opportunities but lawlessness is keeping them away. Hence we felt  the need to change the situation drastically,” he said.

He said   other offences included  possession of unlicensed firearms, drug possession and public drinking. They were arrested during roadblocks conducted by KSD municipal law enforcement in partnership with provincial traffic and the police.

Mampoza said others arrested were motorists  transporting alcohol despite a ban on liquor sales, distribution and transportation under level 3 lockdown regulations.

In Buffalo City Metro (BCM), hundreds of litres of liquor were confiscated from motorists.

Provincial traffic officers, police and BCM traffic officials held a number of roadblocks. Videos and pictures of people hiding their liquor in their vehicles’ spare wheel wells and in their luggage bags under clothes circulated on social media at the weekend.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane was at one of the roadblocks where people were found carrying alcohol. His spokesperson, Mvusi Sicwetsha, confirmed  the premier took part in the roadblocks.

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