A three-year-old child and an elderly man were shot with rubber bullets when tavern patrons tried to stop police from arresting a woman who was selling alcohol.

According to the Mpumalanga police, the incident happened on Sunday at Weltevrede outside Siyabuswa, where the police were trying to stop the sale of alcohol on Sunday and the tavern patrons started being aggressive, leaving the police with no choice but to defend themselves.

Spokesperson of the Mpumalanga police, Brig Leonard Hlathi said after arresting the 43-year-old woman who was selling the alcohol, the patrons halted the confiscation of the alcohol.

“The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma, has strongly condemned an incident of violence and obstructing police from executing their duties. The incident occurred on Sunday 28 June 2020, when members were arresting a 43-year-old woman for contravening the Disaster Management Regulations by selling liquor on Sunday.

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According to the information, police received information about a certain liquor outlet at Weltevrede near Siyabuswa, selling liquor on a Sunday, disregarding the lockdown regulations. Members followed up the information and found that it was business as usual at the said place with fellows helping themselves with alcohol,” said Hlathi.

Hlathi say the woman told the police who responded that the owner of the liquor outlet told her to sell the alcohol on that Sunday.

“Police then arrested the woman, however, within a minute, members found themselves surrounded by a group of angry patrons who were drinking at the place. They violently drew closer, pushed them and also halted the police van which was reversing to load the liquor that had to be confiscated. These patrons went further and removed the car keys from the police van. When the members realised that they were under attack and that their lives were in danger, they [police] warned the members of the public to move back, but this warning was not honoured as they [patrons] drew even much closer and then members were forced, under the circumstances, to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

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Unfortunately during this struggle a three-year-old minor as well as another person got shot in the process and cases were opened in that regard. The members allowed calm to prevail and managed to arrest the woman,” said Hlathi.

Hlathi said a case have been opened about the shooting for investigation while the woman have an admission of guilt fine of R3,000.

“The woman has already paid a fine of R3,000 as an admission of guilt. Police have opened cases of common robbery as well as obstructing police from carrying out their duty,” said Hlathi.-Sowetan

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