Family challenges shebeen forfeiture

2012-03-08 13:36

Johannesburg - A Cape Town family who ran a shebeen from their home in Athlone challenged the forfeiture of their house to the State in the Constitutional Court on Thursday.

Their lawyer Anton Katz wanted to know why ordinary law enforcement methods had not worked, and why the liquor itself had not been confiscated, when the house was.

"Ordinary law enforcements have not worked... why?" asked Katz.

He wanted to know why, during 52 police operations at the house - which included a two-week daily visit - liquor was seen in the passage and a bedroom, but was never taken away.

Of the 52 operations, 15 led to criminal cases being opened, and of those, there were nine convictions with suspended sentences and fines.

According to their heads of argument, the family had applied unsuccessfully for a liquor licence and admitted to contravening the Liquor Act.

But they did not believe the house qualified as an "instrument" of organised crime in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Katz submitted that forfeiting the house to the State was not proportionate to the crime. The forfeiture also violated the children's constitutional rights to housing and shelter.

The hearing continues.

  • Kala - 2012-03-08 13:56

    Nine convictions and suspended sentences. Surely these people should have been locked away a long time ago. On the one hand government wants to curb drinking and on the other they're saying it's OK to sell Liquor without a license just pay the occasional fine.

      Shirley - 2012-03-08 16:52

      Trust me the cops turn blind eyes to these shebeens and they are closed for a day and trading the next! But the valid liquor store,they stand outside to make sure you dont close 1 minute after required time!

  • Rob - 2012-03-08 13:58

    Good riddance. Shebeen owners are usually next to the tik dealer on the left and the dagga supplier on the right with the chop shop accross the road and the street patroled by gangsters and other criminals. Give the house to someone thats not going to be contributing to the moral decay of the neighbourhood. You wanna sell booze, do it in a commercial area and make sure you have the necessary license first. It is quite obvious that these kretins have no respect for the rule of law considering the cops have been there 52 times.

  • dave.leverton - 2012-03-08 13:59

    The couple had been arrested more than 60 times - is this a record ? 9 convictions with suspended sentences - And here I thought that a suspended sentence meant the next time you are arrested for the same offence ......

  • Jeffrey - 2012-03-08 14:47

    Who cares, take the house and investigate this possible 52 police visit without arrest and 9 convictions with suspensions and fines. Who administered those suspensions and fines, who was leading all this visits.

      Arthur - 2012-03-08 15:28

      The maximum fine the police can give to the accused is R1500.00. The amount is set by the MEC and not the police. What happens at court is not the Police's fault. The court does not concern itself with minor offenses like prostitution, drunkenness, drinking in public and shebeens. I've witnessed this first hand myself. Suspended sentences is a quick way to finish the case and carry on with other cases on the roll. According to the liquor act they should have been fined R10k by now, a few times. Can we trust our courts nowadays. TAKE THEIR HOUSE I say.

  • Vuyo - 2012-03-08 20:32

    It looks like children are being used as a bargaining chip . Children must be removed to a place of safety , not a sheebeen .

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