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MAGISTRATE, TEACHER FINED FOR ‘GATHERINGS’

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NHLANGANO – A judicial officer’s duties involve applying the law and to oversee the legal processes in court.

 


But this particular magistrate based in Nhlangano almost swapped roles in court, after police were tipped off about a ‘gathering’ around Nhlangano despite the current coronavirus restrictions.
The judicial officer was reportedly picked up alongside the other people he was found with after police officers stormed the place they were at, shortly after 6pm last Thursday.
The officers were deployed to the place after being called by concerned members of the public who heard noise coming from that direction.


Gathered


Information gathered was that the officers bundled everyone into a police van and drove off to the local police station.
It could not be ascertained how many they were.


It is understood that at the police station, the officers spoke with the affected people about what they had been made to believe was a disregard of the rules by government meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 as they had a ‘gathering’. Apparently, the group argued that social distancing measures had been observed and that the event was not a party, as the police officers had been made to believe.


 It is not clear what was eventually done to the people involved, but sources disclosed that they were let off the hook after paying the admission of guilt fine of E60 per individual. This was reportedly after they were advised to keep to the COVID-19 guidelines, and go to their respective places of abode.


Deputy Police Information and communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni confirmed that police were, over the weekend, forced to break up some gatherings in separate incidences and from different houses around Nhlangano. She said one particular host was charged after police were able to get hold of 11 people, who had gathered at his place of abode, where they were reportedly enjoying themselves.


According to the police deputy spokesperson, it was discovered that there were others who were able to escape upon the arrival of the police.


Identified


The host, who was later identified as a teacher in one of the schools around Nhlangano, was subsequently charged for breaching the COVID-19 regulations. He appeared at the Nhlangano Magistrates Court, where he was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of E1 000, with the alternative to spend a period of 10 months at a correctional facility. Handing down the sentence was Nhlangano Senior Magistrate Sihle Dludlu.


The educator was able to pay the fine.
Both gatherings came at a time when government had ordered everybody to stay at home, and avoid gatherings of over 20 people. However, police officers continue to be called to attend to reports of parties at different locations across the country as people keep on flouting the rules meant to tame the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

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