Several police officers have been arrested for contravening lockdown regulations, including liquor-related crimes, police minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday.

Cele said a “small percentage” of officers were arrested after they sought “to rubbish the good work of the security forces during the lockdown”.

Cele said police had a zero-tolerance approach to criminality and corruption by its own members.

He said several citizens had also been arrested for offences, including fraudulent lockdown permits, failure to confine themselves to places of residence and illegal gatherings.

The biggest percentage of South Africans were arrested for violating regulations on the prohibition of the sale of liquor.

Acting national police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said figures would only be released at a later stage.

“These arrests can be avoided if people can listen and adhere to government’s call to stay home for their own protection against the coronavirus,” Cele said.

Cele had also sent condolences to the families of two officers who died in the line of duty.

Const Percy Ramalepe, 33, from Sandton Vispol was shot dead while responding to a complaint of domestic violence on April 9.

Ramalepe was killed by the 60-year-old husband of the complainant who then turned the gun on himself and died on the scene. He was buried in Giyani, Limpopo, on Saturday.

A second officer, Sgt Steven Damoense, 33, from the Northern Cape Organised Crime Unit, was on patrol on March 30 in Rietvale, Modderrivier, when he was fatally stabbed by a suspect who has since been arrested.

He was buried in Delportshoop on Saturday.

Cele appealed to citizens to stay at home after a number of police members tested positive.

“We are appealing to members of the public to do the right thing and stay home to protect our members who are out there on the streets, exposed and vulnerable to infection and spreading of the virus,” he said.

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