More than 35 Liquor outlets ranging from Taverns, Shebeens, Restaurants and Distributors were visited in KwaZulu-Natal, over the weekend during the liquor awareness and enforcement operation. The areas visited were Durban North, Phoenix, Tongaat and Verulam.
The operation was organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), the South African Police Service (SAPS), Ethekwini municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Board, Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Department of Social Development with an objective to 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 R15000 and 10 illegal liquor outlets that were closed down with 1 275, 15 litres of liquor confiscated.
During the operation, three arrests were made for murder, possession of dagga and for illegal connection of electricity.
The SAPS National Liquor Control, Colonel Sello Motau described the operation as a success and warned those who are trading liquor illegally. He said they will be arrested and face the full might of the law if they continue trading in liquor illegally. Colonel Motau was optimistic that those who intended to trade illegal would fear the law after witnessing the operation over the weekend.
"Partnerships between the police, other government departments and agencies can curb illegal liquor trade. The police can't win war on crime and illegal liquor trading alone. We need to continue partnering with other government departments, agencies and community members in order to win the war against illegal trade of liquor. Education and awareness is one key area that we need to beef up to curb illegal liquor trading," said Motau.
According to the Acting Director of the National Liquor Authority at the dti, Mr Dirk Aspeling the operations were aimed to reduce the socio- economic and other cost of alcohol abuse, to negated the impact of contact crimes resulting from liquor and to enforce compliance of the Liquor Act, 2003 (Act 59 of 2003) also to address the increasing number of unlicensed traders, which do not adhere to the licence conditions, as required by law -
"The unannounced operations are key in ensuring distributors are selling liquor to licenced 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.
This festive season government had to broaden the inspections in order to include education, and to create awareness around substance abuse for the operation to have more impact and yield results. Social workers provided support to the raids to ensure that those affected by substance abuse received the necessary interventions.
"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 license holders to act more responsible 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," added Aspeling.
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry