CAPE TOWN – A video of Police Minister General Bheki Cele, posted on Twitter by the Ministry’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba, playing the marimba in a crowd with some unmasked people during his “safety inspection” walk in the V&A Waterfront has been met with mixed reactions.
The safety inspection, part of the minister’s nationwide campaign, is part of efforts by the SAPS to tighten the grip on contact and violent crimes this festive season, and ensure that safety regulations are observed in all nine provinces.
According to Themba, at the time of the video, the minister was with SAPS members and Western Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile conducting a safety walkabout ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Waterfront.
[HAPPENING NOW] Scenes at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town where Police Minister Gen Bheki Cele and members of the @SAPoliceService led by WC Provincial Commissioner Lt General Patekile are conducting safety a walk about ahead of #NewsYearsEve celebrations. pic.twitter.com/bmZs1XS6Ok— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) December 30, 2021
Many users were outraged by this video as Cele, known for his strict stance against people flouting Covid-19 regulations, is seen in the crowd with some unmasked people and minimal social-distancing in the group.
In a recent interview with TimesLive, in response to whether he thinks the Covid-19 regulations should be further eased, the minister said he did not believe it was the right time.
“Look at what has been happening in England, a country which has vaccinated a large number of its population. America is also quite bad. In Europe, the situation in Paris is terrible, so we shouldn’t rush and then we are forced to reverse our decision. People must be patient and stick within the rules,” he said.
Cele added that fluctuating infection numbers mean that the police “will not tolerate any form of misbehaviour, because it will pull the numbers up”.
On Thursday night, the Presidency announced the further easing of the current level 1 lockdown regulations, which includes the scrapping of curfew.