South Africa: More Arrests for Lockdown Looting and Protests, Cops in Court Over Bootleg Booze

Hundreds of homeless people have been moved to the City of Cape Town’s temporary site at the Strandfontein Sports Grounds, as part of the response to COVID-19. Upon arrival, people are screened for the novel coronavirus. There are no other health services for the many underlying health issues, including mental health, substance dependency, and chronic illness. There are many people in the camp with chronic illnesses, such as HIV and TB, and there is no identifiable way that people with these conditions can get access to treatment. There is no protective equipment, such as masks, and there is one basin at each marquee for people to wash their hands.

A wave of looting in a Cape Town suburb culminated in the arrest of four people, and in a different part of the city, three others were arrested for allegedly throwing stones at police and law enforcement officers.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the four people, aged 21 to 24, were arrested after a group of about 16 people descended on a shop in Gatesville and stole groceries and five cash registers full of money.

Further away, in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, a group of people used burning tyres and smouldering mattresses to block parts of AZ Berman Drive to draw attention to a complaint they had about what they regarded as the unfair distribution of free groceries.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said the group of people started throwing stones when police arrived to investigate.

According to reports, residents of Tafelsig East were upset that a councillor had handed food parcels to Tafelsig West residents on Monday, police said.

Cases of failing to be confined to residences were opened for investigation in terms of the lockdown regulations under the national Disaster Management Act.

Potelwa said three people were arrested for public violence during the Tafelsig standoff.

She warned that police would take action against people who caused unrest.

In terms of the lockdown regulations, only essential service workers are allowed to operate. Everybody else has to stay home unless they need to go out to get essential items, such as medicine or groceries.

The lockdown has left many families without an income.

Police officers themselves were arrested this past week - seven were caught in Bonnievale for allegedly trying to break into a booze shop.

They were each granted bail of R5 000 on Tuesday. They face charges of defeating the ends of justice, theft, the unauthorised use of a motor vehicle, dealing in liquor and violating Disaster Management Act regulations.

They are scheduled to return to court on 24 June.

Two police officers and a Spar owner in Strand were also arrested after police allegedly tried to buy booze from the Spar owner in contravention of lockdown regulations. They are due back in court on Friday.

A 36-year-old man accused of raping an 18-year-old woman at the Strandfontein tent city for the homeless also appeared in court on Tuesday. Bail was set at R2 000.

He is expected to return to court on 14 May.

Source: News24

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