With lockdown being reinstated many of the normal every day activities that we once found ourselves doing are now criminal offenses.
We have also seen a huge increase in gender based violence as women are now spending much longer hours inside their homes with abusive and frustrated or unemployed partners.
The adjusted Level 3 laws for South Africa are now ( as of January 2021)as follows:
- Most outdoor and indoor gatherings are now prohibited and these include religious gatherings, political events, traditional council meetings and gatherings at sports grounds.
- Funerals may not be attended by more than 50 people.
- Restaurants, museums and gyms may not have more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors and this number may not exceed more than 50% of the venues capacity.
- The South African population are all on curfew from 9pm to 5am. No one is permitted outside of their home during those times, except for medical emergencies and those who have permits to do so for work.
- Non essential establishments like bars and restaurants must be closed by 8pm tp allow their staff to get home before curfew.
- Wearing a cloth mask in public is mandatory.
- Our boarder posts will have limited access in and out.
- Alcohol sales are prohibited.
- On site consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
- Beaches are closed as are any parks.
(For a full breakdown of the laws you can visit http://www.gov.za )
Breaking the law
For the most part, the average citizen has adjusted to living in lockdown and embraced a new normal but with stricter laws there are also the consequences of jail sentences and fines, should you break these laws.
A need to break the law
What if the law was broken accidentally or for pure survival ?
We all know the staggering statistics of domestic abuse in South Africa and are aware that not every home is a safe space.
Whilst we saw a significant decrease in alcohol injuries and trauma over the December festive season domestic abuse is still increadibly rife among our society.
According to a Times alive article the government GBV and genocide command centre recorded more than 120 000 cases of domestic violence in the first 3 weeks of South African lockdown. ( 2020)
What if home is not a safe space?
With these statistics it is increadibly likely that a woman or child may run out of a home after curfew without a mask.
What would she do?
Technically she may not leave her home for fear of breaking the law but she also can’t stay for fear of her life.
In a situation of distress her thought would be survival not pandemic hygiene.
Technically she would be breaking 2 major laws :- not wearing a mask and not adhering to curfew.
Help in the law
Whilst it seems unlikely that breaking the laws she could actually turn to the law to protect her, however this would be the case.
Should she find herself arrested or fined for needing to flee her home, she should immediately report her case to the police and gain the help of a criminal defense attorney
Luckily there are free lawyers assigned to you if you are unemployed.
With the assistance of a criminal defense attorney she will be able to accurately prove that she was infact in danger and not intentionally trying to break the law.
Should you find yourself at home and in any danger please make contact with one of the following organizations to assist you: Helpline for women
For domestic abuse or gender based violence You can also dial *134*7355#
This is a free call and avaliable to everyone 24/7 in all 9 provinces