Lockdown: Joburg man ‘arrested while grocery shopping’

A Johannesburg family is crying foul after a family member was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after he went out to buy groceries. 

The family of 52-year-old Sikhumbuzo Mabaso, who lives in the suburb of Hilbrow, says he was he was taken to the Morningside police station.

Mabaso is a father to a 14-year-old son, who is now alone in a flat in Hillbrow.

His wife, Prescilla Jiyane, told News24 she received a call from her husband in the evening, saying he had been arrested and needed R1 500 for bail.

Jiyane had sent Mabaso some money to buy groceries.

Buying essentials

Jiyane said he had already bought some groceries and had also withdrawn money to buy other essentials when he was stopped by the police and subsequently arrested.

Under lockdown regulations anyone is allowed out of their house if they have essential business to do, like buying groceries.

Nicky Holmes, Jiyane’s employer, said her partner had gone to the police station to pay the bail, but was unable to. Mabaso remains in the holding cell. 

South African Police Services national spokesperson Vish Naidoo refused to comment on these allegations, saying he would not “subject any case to a trial via the media”.

Distraught

Jiyane, however, is distraught as their 14-year-old boy has been alone since the arrest.

“I’m so sad because he left our young boy in the flat by himself, so I am worried about that.”

She added that she was concerned about whether simply buying food warranted arrest.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, law enforcement has come under fire because of its heavy-handed and aggressive approach.

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