Cape Flats cops are angry with Police Minister Bheki Cele following his remarks that mense caught smoking cigarettes in their cars will have to provide receipts.
Cele reportedly said during a press conference over the weekend: “Cigarettes must be smoked in your house as it is not illegal to smoke. The only problem is when we find it in your car and you fail to show us where you got the cigarette.
“When you say you have bought the cigarette, here is the receipt, we take you and go and get the person who sold the cigarette to you.”
But Cape Town cops have We won't follow your orders – Angry cops turn against Police Minister Bheki over cigarettes banslammed this proposal as “stupid”.
An officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Since the lockdown, we have had to police this cigarette thing which adds to our workload and it makes no sense because smoking cigarettes has never been illegal.
“Now they want us to check for slips? How are we going to prove that someone bought it illegally when it goes to court? Spaza shops don’t give receipts.”
Another cop told the Daily Voice that police are now “the face” of the cigarette ban: “We are now the bad guys for following orders.
“Most of us won’t enforce this because it’s getting ridiculous now.
“The black market for cigarettes is booming on the Cape Flats and the only people making money are the gangsters.
“The poor people are now paying R10 for one loose entjie,” she says.
However Cele’s spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, claims the minister was misquoted and was responding to a journalist’s question about the transportation of cigarettes.
Cele says remarks were meant for people transporting cigarettes
Peters insisted that Cele has never said that smokers will now be forced to provide proof of cigarette purchases if found smoking in their cars.
“Therefore, Minister’s response was specifically in reference to people transporting cigarettes. If stopped and a person is unable to prove how they came about those cigarettes since the selling thereof is prohibited, police could work on a presumption that such a person has purchased the cigarettes during the lockdown, unless the contrary can be proven.”
Meanwhile, a state prosecutor told the Daily Voice that “nearly 70%” of the arrests made under the Disaster Management Act are being withdrawn at the magistrates’ courts.
“Most of those dockets are never even heard because of lack of evidence. The same will happen with these cigarette cases as how is the state going to prove it was bought illegally?”