Monday, 26 October 2020

Pretoria: Law enforcement agencies, accompanied by Police Minister Bheki Cele, on Sunday morning shutdown a Johannesburg club violating various COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

In videos posted on Twitter by Police Ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, and Gauteng Provincial Government accounts, dozens of patrons were ordered to leave the venue, just after midnight.

Despite being on curfew from midnight until 4am, it is alleged that the club, identified as “Backdoor”, was still trading in the early hours of Sunday.

Beyond this, the club was allegedly packed to capacity, patrons were not wearing face masks and social distancing was not observed.

Addressing reporters, Cele said: “By law, clubs are not open, that is what the regulations say at the present moment. [We received information] and our information was correct.

“We came to this place [it’s called Backdoor], and there were over 300 people not wearing masks or social distancing. [They’re] breaking the law… Besides breaking the COVID-19 laws, people are breaking the real law by being here after curfew…”

Themba said 58 965 millilitres of liquor, valued at R800 000, were seized from the club.

“The manager was arrested and detained at Sandton SAPS for operating a business without a liquor licence and running the club during level one lockdown,” she said.

In a series of tweets, Gauteng Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Faith Mazibuko, who was also at the raid, on Monday thanked the public for alerting authorities.

“To all those who tirelessly send us information on places that need law enforcement attention, we have heard your cries in areas such as Sunnyside, Hillbrow, Kempton Park, Rosettenville and Windsor etc,” she said.

Mazibuko said law enforcement agencies are working hard to deal with crime throughout the province of Gauteng.

“We acknowledge that more needs to be done to deal with crime, including in those areas. We are acting and results should show soon.

“We are not oblivious to the fact that greater focus is needed in finding solutions to end GBVF [gender-based violence and femicide] and crimes against vulnerable persons in our communities.

“GBV Brigades are part of our response and more initiatives are being implemented, working with law enforcement.”

Mazibuko said working with the Department of Home Affairs, law enforcement is dealing with illegal immigrants.

“SAPS and IPID [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] are dealing with corrupt officers. We can only win the fight against crime when we work together.

“Creating a safer Gauteng requires communities to play their part.” she said.