Cops get tough on underage drinking

2008-12-19 00:00

Underage drinking has come under the spotlight again after police raided several Durban nightclubs.

Teeny boppers, dressed in the latest fashion and make-up, are finding it easier and easier to get into Durban’s nightclubs. Many get so drunk that they pass out outside the club and this is one of the reasons MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Cele has ordered a major clampdown on nightclubs who admit children on to their premises.

In one of the raids, Metro Police closed down a well-known Point Road club because it did not have a licence to operate as a nightclub. Several underage revellers were also found inside the club.

The raid, which took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, was part of the city’s plans for a safe festive season. Nightclub raids will continue into 2009, as police are determined to clean up clubs and other venues that sell alcohol to underage people.

“We were all having a good time when the police arrived. After a long conversation with the manager, they turned off the music and asked us to leave,” said an eyewitness.

Metro Police spokeswoman Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo confirmed the incident, but did not have further details. She said that nightclubs and taverns are Metro’s “biggest problems”.

Several nightclubs in the Umhlanga and Ballito areas have also been raided, said a source in eThekwini Municipality.

He said owners of well-established nightclubs in Umhlanga are working closely with police to ensure that no children entered the clubs.

“Yes, there is a major crackdown on clubs, especially those who allow underage people into the club. Underage drinking leads to girls being raped, fights and other serious crimes. If we put a stop to this, we have better control,” he said. He added that offending clubs will face the full might of the law.

Besides the clampdown on nightclubs, police will also crack down on beachfront revellers and wild parties that continue until the morning.

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