How 'trivial' lockdown offences could have dire consequences – ACDP


African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart has raised concerns at the number of people being charged with what he labelled as "trivial offences" under lockdown regulations, and what this could mean for the future of those caught for violating regulations.

"This could mean many face criminal records post lockdown," for violations such as jogging outside the prescribed lockdown hours, he said in a Cape Talk's midday report on Tuesday.

Swart's input questions the high number of people being charged with "trivial" offences or conceding to admission of guilt fines in order to avoid the matter being escalated through court processes, which could spell trouble for many people after lockdown.

As of 1 May, thousands of South Africans were allowed some room to move as the country's lockdown regulations were relaxed to level 4. Under level 4 guidelines, South Africans are allowed to run, walk or cycle within a 5km radius of their homes between 6am and 9am.

Swart maintains criminal records obtained during the nationwide lockdown for infringements of the Disaster Management Act could threaten the future job prospects of many.

After 21 days there were already around 118,000 people charged, says Swart, with about 60,000-odd people who paid admission of guilt fines.

His concern was about their long-term prospects of obtaining employment in the future.

"Some of these offences are trivial but implications are quite dire."

The MP claims he has raised the issue with Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola after recently testing positive for Covid-19.

He was reported to have tested positive alongside ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe, his wife and daughter.

Swart, unlike Meshoe, experienced flu-like symptoms from mid-March. He and his family lost their sense of taste and smell, had sore bodies, coughs, fever and sneezing symptoms.

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