For some time now social media has been abuzz with talk of going out to have fun as a country at undisclosed locations on May 29, 2021.
This sent the police on high alert so they could intervene timely should the need arise. The day has come and gone and the police say they made several arrests of people disobeying COVID-19 protocols including breaking curfew.
Imbibers across social media platforms dubbed Saturday ‘May 29’, naming the day after its actual date. Anticipating the worst, the police were on high alert, as imbibers kept them on their toes with large crowds indulging in alcohol displaying anti-social distancing behaviour across the country. Police raised concern over the continued lack of adherence to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols amongst the drunk. The police disclosed to The Monitor that they witnessed another side to alcohol drinkers as they were all out to have fun despite protocols in place.
The district traffic officer for Mahalapye and surrounding areas, superintendent Tuelo Komanyane said they were informed by their intelligence-led policing to be on high alert to intervene timely to put the district in order amid ‘May 29’. He said police in his area were on their toes as alcohol imbibers had grouped themselves and hosted picnics and chilling sessions at the farms, cattle posts and open spaces.
“After discovering police visibility on the ground, some drinkers in the villages decided to drive out to imbibe alcohol at the farms and cattle posts. We followed and managed to identify those secret locations and charged people for disobeying COVID-19 protocols and curfew time restrictions,” he said. “On Saturday alone we managed to charge over 40 people who had migrated to the bush having fun and drinking alcohol.” Komanyane said patrols managed to interrupt picnics and chilling sessions in the outskirts of Machaneng, Shoshong, Mahalapye, Dibete and Leshebitse villages. He revealed
Komanyane said they charged and disrupted five weddings and funerals that were attended by more than the required numbers of people.
In Tlokweng, assistant police station commander, assistant superintendent Goganang Pule said May 29 was the most unusual Saturday. He said this is because alcohol drinkers behaved strangely.
“People were over-excited and the situation was worse at Modipane and Mokatse villages. It was noisy everywhere as people had hosted chilling sessions in their homes,” Pule said. “On Saturday we recorded 40 cases of people who were charged for disobeying COVID-19 protocols. They were also fined P500 as an admission of guilt for disobeying curfew and they are yet to pay.”
Pule further stated that around 15 people spent their Saturday night in police cells after they were detained for disobeying curfew. He said all of the offenders were youths most likely in their 30s. For his part, Mogoditshane Police Station commander, superintendent Russ Letsebe echoed Pule’s sentiments saying it was noisy everywhere as people had hosted chilling sessions in their homes.
He said they managed to interrupt many chilling sessions in his policing area even though a majority of them claimed to be family. “There is no way a family could have 40 people of the same age,” Letsebe said. “We would find some of those people’s cars parked outside the yard whilst they had grouped themselves drinking alcohol and playing music loudly, disobeying COVID-19 protocols.”