Imbali: Booze worth over R90 000 seized

2011-10-31 00:00

POPULAR taverns around the city were raided, liquor confiscated and establishments shut down indefinitely by police recently.

Pietermaritzburg police said all the outlets raided, which included the popular Hlophe Butchery in West Street and 033 Life Style in Imbali Unit 3, did not have operating licences.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the raids are part of drive to maintain law and order ahead of the festive season.

Jeevan said large volumes of liquor had been confiscated after the owners had failed to produce operating licences.

No licence was produced at the West Street establishment, while 033 Life Style’s licence was questioned.

“We will be monitoring these outlets throughout the festive season. Owners of the establishments where liquor was confiscated were charged for dealing in liquor without a licence,” said Jeevan.

Wiseman Hlophe, manager of Hlophe Butchery, said he could not comment on the raid as his lawyers are handling the matter.

More than R90 000 in liquor was confiscated at the Imbali outlet, said co-owner Bonga Ndaba.

Opened in June last year with an investment of over R600 000, 033 Lifestyle, which employs about 40 staff, including waiters, car guards and security personnel, hosts thousands of patrons each weekend. DJs from throughout the country are contracted every weekend.

“We undertook this venture for the benefit of the community. We bring entertainment to the locals and we put Pietermaritzburg on the map. We are still puzzled at what triggered this as we have been operating for more than a year now,” said Ndaba

“We understand the technicalities regarding our licence, but were are in the process of dealing with those. We also understand and acknowledge that the police are doing their job and we wish to work with them as we also belong in this community.

“On the weekend we were raided we lost the deposits we had paid for the DJs, and people who worked here also lost out. We have suppliers to pay and this is a huge blow to this community in terms of entertainment.”

Ndaba said the reason given for the confiscation was that 033 was trading under a licence granted to Zone 3 pub and restaurant by written agreement.

“This is something that we are working on fixing, but we have never transgressed the stipulations of the licence. We trade between 10 am and 2 am.”

The chairperson of the KZN Liquor Board, Busi Shabalala, said there are proper channels for licence transfers and this can take up to six months.


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