Cops seize 1.8bn litres of alcohol

2014-03-11 16:56

About 1.8 billion litres of illegally sold alcohol were seized around the country in the 2012/13 financial year.

Thousands of illegal shebeens were also shut down during this period, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said today.

Following a press briefing in Isando on the East Rand, she and Gauteng acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Joel Mothiba poured out thousands of litres of alcohol.

The two were joined by other police officials and they emptied a variety of beers, ciders, wines and whiskies into a makeshift drain.

The stench of alcohol filled the air as the multicoloured liquors frothed down the drain.

“Alcohol is socially acceptable but has a negative effect on families and communities,” said Phiyega.

She said people who owned illegal shebeens operated until the early hours of the morning and patrons walking home from these shebeens at those hours became a target of crime.

“We want to decrease the amount of crime [which stems from] the illegal use of alcohol,” said Phiyega.

Mothiba said 97 000 bottles of liquor were confiscated from illegal shebeens during the festive season in Gauteng alone.

About 350 000 illegal DVDs and CDs were also taken off the streets.

Most of the illegal goods were seized in Hillbrow in Johannesburg and in Pretoria.

Mothiba and Phiyega crushed the CDs and DVDs today.

Phiyega said police were clamping down on people who operated their businesses illegally as they hampered the growth of the country’s economy.

“We are not friends of crime, crime is our enemy,” said Phiyega.

She said illicit trading was not just limited to alcohol, CDs and DVDs, but included clothes, shoes and even medicines.

“People selling counterfeit goods think it’s violentless crime,” said Phiyega.

The illegal traders also did not pay tax and, among other laws, infringed on design and copyright.

Phiyega said that in June last year, police raided the premises of two Chinese nationals in Sunnyside, Pretoria, where they found illegal medicine worth R7 million.

Police seized sexual enhancement medicines, contraceptives, slimming tea and high-blood pressure medication.

“Some of these products contained dagga,” said Phiyega, who added that consumers could not tell as the products’ lists of ingredients were in Chinese.

Phiyega called on the public to alert police about people who were operating their businesses illegally.

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