Ronald Lamola Guptas

Minister Ronald Lamola. [Photo: GCIS]

‘Where are you going?’ – Lamola says movements will be questioned

Minister says permits will be required for night-time travel and that police visibility will be intensified.

Ronald Lamola Guptas

Minister Ronald Lamola. [Photo: GCIS]

When venturing out in public, South Africans may still face a tough line of questioning related to the freedom of movement during Level 3 lockdown.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, who addressed the media on behalf of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Sunday-night report.

Citing a sudden surge of coronavirus cases and the burden placed on South Africa’s healthcare system, Ramaphosa revealed that stricter lockdown regulations — including the prohibition of alcohol — would be reintroduced with immediate effect.

Additionally, the president announced that a nighttime curfew — aimed at keeping South Africans indoors between 21:00 and 04:00 — would be closely observed by law enforcement agencies. Only citizens travelling to or from work — or seeking urgent medical attention — are permitted to be outside of their homes during curfew.

Night-time travellers will require a permit

Commenting on the recently-gazetted regulations, Lamola stated that a permit to travel during the hours of curfew would need to be obtained and produced when questioned by law enforcement officials. The minister added that members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) would be especially vigilant during the night-time hours, explaining:

“The issue of permits is still applicable, which will mostly be enforced during the curfew period — between 21:00 and 04:00 — because that is when someone will really have to prove that you are coming from or going to a permitted activity.”

Lamola defended government’s controversial decision to allow casinos to open while still prohibiting private family visitations, arguing that the home environment could not be regulated and that social distancing directives were unlikely to be adhered to.

Daytime movements can be questioned by cops

While Lamola stressed that night-time travellers were most likely to be questioned about their movements, the justice and correctional services minister added that even day-trippers could face a grilling. Lamola said:

“During the day there are many other things which could be done which may not really need a permit — like going to the mall or going to the doctor for an emergency or to consult — and the various activities which do happen during the day.

But even during the day, if there is a need in public places, you could be asked ‘where are you going?’ because it is important for us whenever we leave our places of residence we do have a reason. If it is not necessary [to leave your place of residence] – stay at home.”

Lamola added that public consultations formed a major part of the determination process and urged citizens to voice their suggestions concerning lockdown regulations.