- Police destroyed 200 litres of illegal Mtshovalale beer in Makhanda.
- At least 19 people died after drinking the alcoholic concoction.
- The ECLB identified 249 illegal breweries and taverns in the province.
Police and the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) have closed down two illegal breweries that produce a deadly alcoholic concoction, known as Mtshovalale, in Makhanda on Tuesday.
During the Tuesday morning operation at one of the town's oldest townships, the Hlalani Location, police destroyed 200 litres of the brew.
The area is notorious for producing the untested drink, which officials consider a health hazard.
The owners of the two backyard breweries were fined for contravening the Eastern Cape Liquor Act 10 of 2003.
The acting Sarah Baartman District police commissioner, Brigadier John Lebok, said: "Brewing of traditional beer is very common in South Africa, but these other illegal concoctions, known as 'Mtshovalale', are dangerous to the health and well-being of consumers. Police will continue with similar operations throughout the district."
ECLB spokesperson Mgwebi Msiya said producers of the concoction are warned to stop their operation or face the full wrath of the law. He called on communities to report illegal producers to the nearest police station.
"This type of alcohol has killed too many people in the community. We will do all in our power to fight this scourge," said Msiya.
Msiya said the board had embarked on a province-wide campaign to shut down the outlets.
In July 2021, the ECLB identified 249 illegal breweries and taverns. They were reported to the police when at least 19 people died after drinking the beer.
"We are working with SAPS to make sure that we fight against this tendency by people who continue to manufacture these concoctions, because they are dangerous to the health of our people."
Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.