Illegal liquor outlets shut down in KZN blitz

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ten illegal liquor outlets were shut down and fines to the value of R15 000 were issued in a blitz in KwaZulu-Natal, said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The blitz was carried out at the weekend by the dti and the South African Police Service (SAPS), eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Board and the Departments of Agriculture and Forestry and Social Development. Thirty-five 35 liquor outlets were visited.

The blitz operation carried out in Durban North, Phoenix, Tongaat and Verulam was aimed at curbing illegal trading of liquor, creating an awareness on the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse and ensuring that licence holders comply with the conditions.

“The operation success was due to 12 illegal traders being issued with fines for non-compliance to the value of R15 000 and 10 illegal liquor outlets that were closed down, while 1 275.15 litres of liquor were confiscated.  During the operation, three arrests were made for murder, possession of dagga and for illegal connection of electricity,” said the dti on Sunday.

Colonel Sello Motau of the SAPS National Liquor Control warned against the illegal trade of liquor. 

“Partnerships between the police, other government departments and agencies can curb illegal liquor trade. The police can’t win the war on crime and illegal liquor trading alone. Education and awareness is one key area that we need to beef up to curb illegal liquor trading,” said Motau.

Acting Director of the National Liquor Authority at the dti, Dirk Aspeling, said the operations were aimed at reducing the socio-economic and other costs of alcohol abuse.  

“The unannounced operations are key to ensuring distributors are selling liquor to licensed persons or entities. The department is still facing the challenges in regulating liquor, as registrants continue to trade after the licence has been cancelled or do not comply with their registration conditions.

“In order to address this challenge, we will have to review licence conditions and registrants may stand to lose their licences as government will not tolerate non-adherence to the law,” said Aspeling.

With the festive season approaching, government has had to broaden the inspections in order to include education and to create awareness around substance abuse for the operation to have more impact.

Social workers were also part of the raids to ensure that those affected by substance abuse receive help.

“KwaZulu-Natal was targeted because it is one of the provinces with the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse in the country. The message we wanted to put across was for licence holders to act more responsibly and familiarise themselves with the National Liquor Act, its regulations and norms and standards so that they can act responsibly and make informed decisions when manufacturing and distributing alcohol to traders,” said Aspeling. - SAnews.gov.za

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