Cele apologises for comments made during arrest at Mpumalanga mosque

File: Police officers taking part in an operation. AFP/Marco Longari

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele has apologised to the Muslim community after blasphemous remarks were made during the arrest of congregants in Mpumalanga.

Cele says an urgent investigation is underway to identify who made the remarks.

At least 24 worshippers were taken into custody.

READ: Muslim council slams police conduct

Meanwhile, Cele has called on religious leaders to discourage congregants from attending gatherings during the lockdown.

This after 17 people were arrested Pretoria West for violating the COVID-19 Disaster Management Lockdown Regulations.

The minister says most arrests have been of people who had gathered for religious reasons since the lockdown.

READ: Level four lockdown explained

“When people, wittingly or unwittingly, violate the lockdown regulations, police are left with no choice but to enforce the law where in some instances this means arresting people,” said Cele.

“This global pandemic demands that we all make huge sacrifices, making drastic adjustments to the way we live under normal circumstances. So, the sooner we accept that these are abnormal times, the closer we can all get to possible solutions towards eradicating the coronavirus once and for all,” he added.

Religious gatherings have been banned to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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