Bheki Cele is back to doing one of the things he enjoys most – threating to shut down bars and shebeens due to non-compliance. The police minister’s disdain for alcohol is well known amongst the public, so his vow to ensure that ‘misbehaving venues’ must be shut-down has to be taken seriously.
On Wednesday, Cele implored officers to be brave and make ‘unpopular decisions’ in order to protect South Africans. Responding to reports that numerous taverns have been ignoring COVID-19 safety protocols, he told SAPS members that they must treat any venues breaking the lockdown laws ‘like a crime scene’:
“Our job is to make unpopular decisions. So [bars and] shebeens that are misbehaving must be closed down. If regulations are not respected, close them down. Once they stop respecting the law it’s no longer a shebeen. It is a crime scene. We need to make the people listen who refuse to listen. We need to push them a little. Everybody must behave.”
“Maybe we should let all the police go on leave from 15 December to 15 January. Then the public will realise the service the police provides. They will realise our excellence. When the public sees officers, they must see hope. So sorry, no Christmas for you… Criminals have declared war against the nation – and we are the first and last line of defence.”Bheki Cele
Cele: "Shebeens that are misbehaving must be closed down. If regulations are not respected, close them down. Once they stop respecting the law it's no longer a shebeen. It is a crime scene."— HeraldLIVE (@HeraldPE) December 23, 2020
Minister Bheki Cele, the Provincial Commissioner of Police in Eastern Cape, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga, and the top management of the South African Police Service are currently assessing the effectiveness of Safer Festive Season plans put in place, to ensure that residents and holidaymakers are safe during the holiday season and beyond.
The ANC veteran didn’t waste much time after completing his speech, either. Cele will also use this opportunity to monitor compliance in Port Elizabeth – which has been identified as one of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots.