There’s been a lot of talk regarding South Africa’s lockdown regulations. Some people think they make sense and are adhering strictly and staying at home when they can, while others are blatantly breaking lockdown.
Whether you agree with the varying lockdown level regulations or not, you should know that there are some pretty serious consequences for not complying – and yes, you can get a criminal record for breaking lockdown.
Admission of guilt fine for breaking lockdown
If you are caught breaking any of South Africa’s lockdown rules, you have the option of paying an admission of guilt fine to avoid having to appear in court. If you pay this fine, you automatically have a criminal record (which can take 10 years to expunge!)
There have been talks to change the system, so that admission of guilt for minor crimes doesn’t result in a criminal record. However, don’t bank on this happening any time soon. It’s a lengthy process that involves changing legislature. In addition, the government is unlikely to address the issue while Covid-19 is still a concern, as getting a criminal record is a further deterrent to breaking lockdown regulations.
Consequences of breaking lockdown – fines you can expect to pay
Parties, drinks with friends, clubbing, certain sports – these are just a few activities that are part of ‘normal’ life but are either restricted or not allowed during lockdown. Here are a few fines as of 11 May 2020 that you could expect to pay for breaking lockdown – click here.
Many of these “illegal” activities have since been removed from the list as we move from one level of lockdown to another; For example, exercise restrictions have now been removed, you can buy alcohol, shop at most stores kids can go back to school and most industries can return to work, but there are still constraints.
Visit premises or places closed to the public – R1 000
Going to the beach during lockdown is prohibited, as is visiting any place that is closed to the public.
Illegally moving between provinces, metropolitan areas and districts – R1 000
Without a permit, you still may not travel between provinces, cities, and in some cases even suburbs.
Sell tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products – R1 000
Including private sales to friends and neighbours – and note that vaping products are also included in the ban.
Convening of a gathering – R3 000
Having friends over for a party during lockdown could land you with a very heavy fine if you’re caught.
If you are caught breaking lockdown and don’t want a criminal record, the best thing is not to pay the fine and rather wait for a court hearing. Better yet, just sit tight and adhere to all lockdown regulations. It really is for your own safety!
*Please note, all information contained in this article is correct at the time of writing.