SAS Security Services

A BRIDE, groom, their entourage and all their wedding guests were arrested for allegedly organising and taking part in a wedding despite government regulations banning large gatherings due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

A KZN bride and groom, as well as their wedding guests, were arrested at the weekend for holding a large gathering during the coronavirus lockdown.

Police officers and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members stopped the wedding and arrested 53 people in eNseleni, outside eMpangeni, at the weekend.

The arrests came after a whistle-blower told the police a wedding was taking place in the area.

According to sources, when the police arrived, the pastor was helping the couple with their marriage vows.

“The police and soldiers were armed to the teeth and they stormed the tent where the wedding was taking place and arrested everyone who was present,” said a source.

In a video, seen by The Star’s sister newspaper, Isolezwe, the bride is seen in her white wedding dress being led to the police van.

In the video, the bridegroom also gets into the police van, while other police vehicles take the arrested wedding guests to the police station.

According to the source, the presence of the pastor raised eyebrows, as he was believed to also be a medical doctor.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, confirmed the incident, saying: “We arrested 53 people including the bridegroom, his bride and the pastor for violating the Disaster Management Act.”

Naidoo told eNCA that members of the public were giving them information on illegal gatherings because they were concerned with the spread of the coronavirus.

He urged people to stop trying to have secret gatherings, saying the police would continue to arrest them.

uMhlathuze municipality yesterday released a statement criticising the conduct of the bridegroom and his bride and those who attended the wedding. The municipality said 76 people had been arrested since the lockdown for various violations of the regulations.

Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo said it was disappointing that people were continuing to go against regulations.

“We arrested 50 people at an illegal wedding at eNseleni. We also arrested a pastor who was officiating at the ceremony and all those who were in attendance,” said Mhlongo.

He said among those arrested for violating regulations were people selling alcohol illegally, those who were in the country without permits and four who were enjoying themselves at the Richards Bay Civic Centre Park.

This is the second couple to be arrested for organising a wedding during the lockdown after another couple from Nkandla were arrested last week.

Jabulani Zulu, 48, and his wife, Nomthandazo, 38, were not deterred by the 21-day lockdown and got married on March 28.

But just after they had said their “I do’s”, and their hundreds of guests were about to enjoy the feast laid out, police ended the celebration.

By Nontuthuko Ngubane

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