Gauteng police said on Wednesday they were investigating whether a gathering at the home of struggle stalwart and Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni breached lockdown laws.
Saps confirmed that a case had been opened into whether the gathering outside Mlangeni’s Soweto home on Tuesday had breached the Disaster Management Act, which prohibits large public gatherings and limits to 50 the number of people allowed at funerals.
Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said the investigation came after the police were inundated with complaints about Tuesday’s gathering, in which Mlangeni’s body was brought back home ahead of his funeral on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s gathering included ANC officials, SA National Defence Force officials and neighbours of the struggle veteran. The crowd outside far exceeded 50 people.
“It has come to the attention of the joint operational and intelligence structure that numerous people have been making calls, via various media platforms, that mourners who visited the house of the late struggle stalwart, Mr Andrew Mlangeni yesterday, be arrested,” said Naidoo.
“The regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act makes provision for the dispersing of crowds who gather illegally and to hold accountable a person or persons who convenes or organises illegal gatherings.
“Therefore, with regards to this matter in question, a case of contravention of the Disaster Management Act will be opened for investigation. On completion of the investigation the docket will be submitted to the directorate for public prosecution for a decision.”
Images of apparent ANC members flocking around Mlangeni’s coffin, which was draped with an ANC flag, have been doing the rounds on social media, with many questioning whether the disaster management regulations exempted government officials.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who was among the scores of mourners, had earlier come to the defence of the ANC members who were present, saying there was only 10 of them there.
He said the ANC had not called the large number of neighbours who had gathered, adding that this simply showed the affection that people had for Mlangeni.
Mlangeni, who turned 95 in June, died last week after a short illness.