Bride and groom arrested after going through with wedding during lockdown

Caption: Bride and groom arrested after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules in South Africa

A married couple spent their first night at husband in wife in police cells after going ahead with their wedding despite the coronavirus lockdown.

All 50 guests and the pastor were also arrested after a tip-off that the marriage was happening in KwaZulu-Natal despite bans on public gatherings.

The groom was seen on video helping his new wife into a police van in her wedding dress shortly after the mass arrest in Richards Bay. The couple, and their guests, have not yet been named but they will all appear in court on Monday.

A police spokesman said the couple would be ‘spending their honeymoon under stringent bail conditions’.

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South Africa has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa, at 1,845 with 18 deaths, but that number is expected to rise as the government embarks on a mass testing drive.

According to the rules, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential tasks like buying food or seeking medical help. Police arrested more than 17,000 people during the first few days of the lockdown, many for violating the rules.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put the communications minister on ‘special leave’ for two months on Wednesday and docked a month of her pay for breaking the rules of a countrywide lockdown by having lunch with a former official.

Ramaphosa acted after a picture of Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at the lunch emerged on social media, angering South Africans confined to their homes during the 21-day lockdown that started on March 27 to rein in the coronavirus outbreak.

The groom helped his bride into the police van (Picture: Umhlathuze Municipality)
All 50 of the couple’s guests were also arrested (Picture: Umhlathuze Municipality)
The moment that police and soldiers raided the wedding

‘The president strongly believes that no one, including the minister, is above the law,’ Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko said. ‘He says none of us should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation.’

In a video posted on Twitter, Ndabeni-Abrahams apologised.

‘I would like to convey an apology to … society at large for breaching lockdown rules put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19,’ she said. ‘I regret the incident and am deeply sorry.’

They will all appear in court on Monday for breaching the lockdown rules (Picture: Umhlathuze Municipality)
A soldier looks on as the guests are taken into custody (Picture: Umhlathuze Municipality)

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