Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
3 minute read
15 Jan 2021
4:45 am

No mask really is a crime

Bernadette Wicks

People who choose not to wear masks in public are neither harmless, nor innocent. Their acts of rebellion make these criminals as real as any others.

A woman selling clothes along a busy street in Olievenhoutbosch can be seen wearing a mask to prevent contracting Covid-19, 21 August 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The news that less than two weeks after it was made a crime, more than 7,000 people had been arrested for not wearing masks in public has – as expected – been met with outrage. South Africans across the board are up in arms. How, they want to know, dare the police arrest “harmless, innocent people”? That was how one patriot described them on Facebook. At least. Many more demanded the police go after “real” criminals. The truth, though, is that people who choose not to wear masks in public are neither harmless, nor innocent. And their acts of rebellion...