Illegal liquor traders arrested during inspection blitz in EC

2016-10-19 06:00
Alcohol being confiscated at one of the illegal traders in Motherwell over the weekend. Photo: SUPPLIED

Alcohol being confiscated at one of the illegal traders in Motherwell over the weekend. Photo: SUPPLIED

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EIGHT illegal liquor traders were arrested over the weekend during an inspection blitz conducted by officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Social Development and Eastern Cape Liquor Authority in the Eastern Cape Province.

During the operation, schools and liquor outlets were visited, eight illegal outlets closed down, two fines to the value of R4 000 issued, 74 people searched for possession of dangerous weapons and more than 1 000 litres of alcohol were confiscated.

Outlets ranging from taverns, restaurants, distributors and manufacturers were inspected for compliance in Motherwell, Swartkops, Kwazakhele and New Brighton.

The Chief Director of the National Liquor Authority at the DTI Prea Ramdhuny said that the operation was meant to create awareness on substance and liquor abuse, conduct liquor enforcement operation in line with the national and provincial liquor legislation, and monitor non-adherence to licence conditions and trading hours.

“Most of outlets that were targeted failed to adhere to the Liquor Acts and Regulations. They were issued with fines and police dockets were opened. As the department we ensure compliance of the Liquor Laws, curb the illegal trading of liquor and ensure that liquor is not sold to minors and pregnant women. We are intensifying efforts to eradicate illegal outlets.

“Furthermore, the Liquor Amendment Bill that is currently published for public comment seeks to impose civil liability on the liquor industry and make them accountable for their products found in illegal outlets and for consequential crimes from liquor abuse. The industry must be regulated to trade responsibly,” Ramdhuny added.

According to Ramdhuny, the blitz was key in ensuring distributors were selling liquor to licenced persons or entities and that liquor was manufactured in accordance to the legislation.

She said the monitoring also assists in ensuring that distributors and manufacturers of liquor renew their licences and that all illegal traders were brought to book for contravening the law.

“All stakeholders had an integrated approach which sought to combat alcohol and substance abuse and we realised as the DTI that there is still a need to educate our licensees and liquor applicants about compliance with the liquor Act. Challenges faced by the department in regulating liquor are registrants continuing to trade after the licence has been cancelled; retailers distributing liquor with a retail licence or distributors retailing with a distributing licence and most of the time pleading lack of knowledge,” she added.

Brigadier Judy Le Roux responsible for firearms, liquor and second hand goods at the SAPS said the intention of this operation was to raise awareness on substance abuse, gun violence and stolen goods.

She highlighted that the operation also intended to address the reduction on liquor traders in the area because liquor consumption was contributing to contact crimes such as murder, robbery, rape and assault which was extremely high.

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