Almost R2 million worth of imported beer was intercepted before it could be driven from Durban to Gauteng for distribution.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, commended the police following the arrest of a truck driver who was found transporting approximately 1 890 cases of imported beer.
According to a statement from Pillay's office, on Friday afternoon, police embarked on an intelligence-driven operation in Durban and intercepted a horse-and-trailer truck transporting the caseloads of beer with an estimated value of R1.9 million.
The alcohol had allegedly been loaded into the truck at a depot in Sydney Road in Durban and was being transported to Johannesburg. After being intercepted on the freeway, the truck was escorted to the Umbilo Police Station in Glenwood where the driver was charged with the illegal transportation of alcohol.
“From the information that we have received from the police it would appear that this was a blatant violation of the country’s Adjusted Level 3 Lockdown Regulations. The regulations are clear on the sale, dispensing and transportation of alcohol during this period. The law must therefore take its course,” MEC Pillay said.
While the regulations allow for transportation of liquor under very specific circumstances, the truck driver failed to produce any permit proving he had been granted permission to transport the alcohol.
“We are dealing with a very dangerous pandemic that is rising at an alarming rate. Many families have lost loved ones to the pandemic. The nation is losing frontline workers on a daily basis. Alcohol has been identified as the key contributor to the spread of this virus and therefore any illegal sale of alcohol would likely contribute directly to the spread of infections. We cannot allow this to happen and we therefore commend the good work of the SAPS,” added MEC Pillay.
The MEC then urged businesses to conduct their operations responsibly and adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. “We sincerely understand the pain that businesses are enduring at the moment. Many operations have ground to a halt because of the pandemic. But we seek to save lives and livelihoods. The regulations are in place not to punish businesses but to protect all of us,” continued MEC Pillay.
He added that government will continue to engage businesses. “We will continue to work with all sectors that are in distress so as to find solutions,” said MEC Pillay.