Durban – A northern KwaZulu-Natal couple was arrested at their wedding after they defied a traditional leader’s instruction not to go ahead with the event, as they were in breach of the Covid-19 regulations.
Inkosi Bhekizwe Biyela of Mahlaziyeni, in Nkandla, said he blew the whistle on the couple because they had contravened the National Disaster Management Act restricting gatherings during the 21-day lockdown.
It is believed the couple, Jabulani Zulu, 48, and Nomthandazo Mkhize, 38, were arrested moments after they had taken their vows on Saturday.
A furious Biyela said as traditional leaders in the rural areas, they had a responsibility to act quickly in preventing any community gatherings while the country was under lockdown, in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly conronavirus.
“Failure to act, will make us killers, just like the virus,” he said.
Attempts to reach the couple for comment were unsuccessful.
Biyela said he had personally called the police after learning that the couple were going ahead with the wedding despite two warnings, one from him and the other from his headman, not to proceed.
“It is surprising because he (the groom) is an educated person. He is a teacher at one of the local schools and he should be at the forefront of teaching others about this disease and yet he was the one behaving in this irresponsible manner,” Biyela said.
“When the president announced the lockdown, I issued a directive to all our headmen that they should inform our community members that all planned events could no longer go ahead.
“When I heard that this couple were going ahead with their plans, I decided to call the local station commander.
“They were endangering a lot of lives. This wedding was in the rural area. Here people do not need an invite, they just show up,” he said.
“This couple could have started something that we could not stop. We watch the news daily where people are dying of this virus.
“But, this couple chose to ignore the reality of this sickness,” he added.
Biyela said he had personally met with the groom to warn him against the wedding taking place.
“I told him to postpone the wedding because that joyous moment could have been followed by tears if the couple or any of their guests got infected with the virus during the ceremony.
“But there always seem to be those kinds of people who never heed warnings and do whatever they like,” he said.
Biyela said traditional leaders had a moral and social responsibility to assist the government in protecting people from such reckless behaviour.
The headman, Ngwebela Biyela, said he too had warned the couple.
“I went to them personally and spoke with them.
“I told them that they could not have a wedding during this time because gatherings were prohibited and they could not slaughter an animal.
“However, they defied the instruction and went ahead with the wedding,” he said.
“When I consulted with the Chief in our community, I learnt that they also didn’t have a letter from the Inkosi’s office authorising the ceremony to take place,” he added.
KwaZulu-Natal police did not respond to requests for comment.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, speaking during a visit to the province on Monday, said police had made 1108 arrests across the country over the weekend.
All arrests were due to people contravening the regulations imposed under the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country>chaosafrica