In the early hours of Sunday morning, police minister Bheki Cele and members of the SAPS and JMPD busted a club in Sandton, Johannesburg called Blackdoor, for contravening the Disaster Management Act.
In addition to reportedly having no liquor license or manager on duty, the club was packed beyond capacity, practiced no social distancing, and no patrons wore masks. It was also open well beyond the 12am curfew.
Scenes inside the #Blackdoor lounge in Sandton, It is one of several establishments shutdown by @SAPoliceService in the early hours of this morning for operating after 12h00am and during #Level 1 Lockdown. This club was also packed beyond capacity and many had no masks. pic.twitter.com/uEXNGezNpG
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) October 25, 2020
Police have just shut down Blackdoor Lifestyle Lounge is Sandton.
The place was operating after 12h00am (packed beyond capacity), they could not present a liquor license and there was no appointed manager. pic.twitter.com/GuaO4cgWsL
— MEC Faith Mazibuko (@FaithMazibukoSA) October 24, 2020
One of the few sectors of the entertainment industry that have not yet received the go-ahead to reopen after South Africa’s hard Covid-19 lockdown are nightclubs, as these are deemed non-essential, and violate curfew laws currently in place.
Nightclubs are notoriously packed, and social distancing is not practical or easily accomplished in such settings.
Police Minister Bheki Cele explains why the #BlackDoor nightclub in Sandton was raided by @SAPoliceService in the early hours of Sunday morning. The owner of the club will be charged with contravention of the Disaster Management Act. pic.twitter.com/WQafjYOYCI
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) October 24, 2020
Blackdoor Lifestyle Lounge shutdown.
Compliance is not negotiable!!!#SaferJoburg #WeServeJoburg @CityofJoburgZA @CoJPublicSafety @FaithMazibukoSA @GeoffMakhubo @MMCMallyMokoena @SAPoliceService pic.twitter.com/74DDHzLogZ
— Jo’burg Metro Police Department – JMPD (@JoburgMPD) October 24, 2020
Establishments such as nightclubs create potentially dangerous settings, which experts dub “super-spreaders”. This is when many people congregate in a small space, and significantly increase the chances of one or more people being infected with Covid-19.
“By law, clubs are not opened. Our information was correct, we came here, they call this place Blackdoor.”
Alcohol at Blackdoor Lifestyle Lounge being confiscated.#SaferJoburg #WeServeJoburg @CityofJoburgZA @CoJPublicSafety @FaithMazibukoSA @GeoffMakhubo @MMCMallyMokoena @SAPoliceService pic.twitter.com/c4FEWqsO56
— Jo’burg Metro Police Department – JMPD (@JoburgMPD) October 25, 2020
“There were almost 300 people, packed, no masks, no social distancing, breaking the law, and with the threat of the second wave, we will not survive with these clubs.
“But besides breaking the Covid law, people are breaking the real law to be here after curfew they are still packed here.”
Cele alluded to Blackdoor not being the only nightclub operating in secret in Johannesburg, saying “this is not the only one, there is another one.”
According to police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba, the owner of Blackdoor will be charged with contravening the Disaster Management Act.
The Disaster Management Act was recently extended by yet another month, to 15 November, by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma said this was due to “the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster.”
A second wave of Covid-19 is currently sweeping across Europe, with renewed calls for economic lockdowns and curfews.
In South Africa, experts have warned that there is strong likelihood of a second spike in Covid-19 infections.
The Western Cape is already bracing itself for a second wave, with Premier Alan Winde saying during a digital press conference that “we wanted our peak to look like Table Mountain.”
Attempts to reach Blackdoor have so far been unsuccessful. Updates to follow as more information is received.