Warning comes after a wedding couple were arrested
A bridal couple, their party and all their wedding guests were arrested in South Africa for taking part in a wedding against government regulations, which have banned large gatherings in efforts to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Police officers and the military stopped the wedding and arrested 53 people in eNseleni, in rural KwaZulu-Natal, at the weekend.
The arrests came after a whistle-blower reportedly called the police about the wedding.
In a video that has been widely shared on social media, the bride is seen in a white ball grown being led to a police van, the groom in a blue suit, holding the hem of the dress – helps her into the car.
He then also gets into the police van – while other police vehicles take the arrested wedding guests to the police station.
The people were arrested for violating the Disaster Management Act. Under the lockdown regulations no weddings are allowed and funerals must follow strict rules too.
“Weddings are not allowed at all, the number of guests didn’t matter. It’s only in funerals that the mourners are limited to 50. No other gatherings are allowed,” national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told the BBC.
Police say they have been receiving tip-offs from people about illegal gatherings including church services.
This is the second couple to be arrested on their wedding day.
Last week, police swooped in on newly weds in Nkandla before the wedding feast. There the police ended the celebrations, arrested the couple, and dispersed hundreds of guests who were part of the festivities. The couple appeared in the Nkandla Magistrate’s Court and are out on bail.
South Africa has the highest confirmed infections in Africa, currently at more than 1,600.