Lockdown: NPA ready to deal with lawbreakers in line with directives of justice ministry
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is committed to bringing people who break the law during the 21-day lockdown to court. On Thursday, 26 March, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola issued directions on how prosecutors should handle lawbreakers during the national lockdown. In line with those directions, the NPA's regional spokesperson Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane said prosecutors are committed to bringing transgressors before the court through summonses or warnings, according to the provisions in Section 54 and Section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
According to Louw-Mjonondwane, the directions stipulate that a first-time offender may admit his or her guilt in respect of the offence in question and may be required to pay a fine as set out by the court.
"For example, failure to confine oneself to his or her place of residence, a fine of R1 500 is applicable for a first-time offender, and a fine of R5 000 for any gathering of more than 50 people. No admission of guilt for second and repeat offenders," Louw-Mjonondwane said. She added that the NPA wanted to urge South Africans to abide by the set regulations. As an agency, she said, they remained in solidarity with those who shared the country's aim of preventing the increase of the coronavirus. "We will not hesitate to bring transgressors to book. Therefore, it is important we follow these regulations and do as instructed by the president and stay at home," said Louw-Mjonondwane.