A joint-operation comprising of the National Liquor Authority (NLA) of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with the Northern Cape Liquor Board and the South African Police Services (SAPS) shut down ten illegal liquor outlets that were found to be operating without licences. This happened during a blitz inspection operation that took place in Kuruman and surrounding areas at the weekend.
The operation inspected 70 liquor outlets. 40 were issued with compliance notices for contravening the country’s liquor laws. Fines to the value of R5 000 were issued and more than 860 litres of liquor were confiscated by the SAPS officers. 10 illegal liquor traders were shut down. Liquor outlets ranging from taverns, restaurants and distributors were raided in Kuruman, Mothibistad, Batlharos and Kathu.
According to Liquor Inspector of the Northern Cape Liquor Board, Mr Mpho Bhunu, the inspection blitz was meant to address the increasing number of underage drinking, non-adherence to the licence conditions, violation of trading hours and to enforce compliance among liquor traders and distributors.
“Liquor outlets showing a blatant disregard of the Liquor Act and irresponsible trading will be prosecuted. Non-compliance relates to the selling of liquor to minors, selling after official trading hours, selling to already intoxicated patrons and pregnant women, and selling of liquor for consumption other than on the licensed premises,” said Bhunu.
He added that they were made aware of the mushrooming of illegal taverns in these areas and the increasing levels of alcohol abuse.
“Our office uses targeted interventions such as blitz operations as an opportunity to urge people to take responsibility for their lives by refraining from drinking irresponsibly. To those people who trade illegally, they are encouraged to come to the Liquor Board offices and enquire about processes of attaining a liquor license or face the wrath of the law,” said Bhunu.
Colonel Sello Motau of the National SAPS Liquor Control Office said that there were continuous reports of many accounts in the areas visited, where young people were increasingly falling prey to alcohol and substance abuse. by all South African communities, and therefore it needed to be dealt with holistically.
“It goes without saying that alcohol abuse is a contributing factor to social ills experienced. We must ensure that traders and consumers of alcohol adhere to compliance with the laws designed to bring about responsible liquor trading and consumption,” added Motau.
Mrs Annelize Karelse, community member of Kuruman who was observing the raid of an illegal trader from her yard, praised the police for shutting it down because the community had been complaining to authorities regarding alcohol being sold to minors, loud music until the wee hours of the morning and large number of crimes in the area.
“It’s about time this trader is shut down because kids of all ages buy alcohol there. The music gets so loud during the night and early hours of the morning that we lose sleep for most nights of the week, especially on weekends. We cannot continue to live like this in our own community,” said Karelse.
Mothibistad resident Boipelo Kgalegang, said there were more drinking holes in Mothibistad and Batlharos communities than food shops.
Kgalegang added that joint operations such as these would go a long way to saving her community and others from alcohol abuse, but government need the assistance of community members to eradicate the scourge.
The joint-operation was meant to enforce compliance with the Liquor Act, 2003 (Act 59 of 2003) and to also to address the increasing number of unlicensed traders, non-adherence to the licence conditions, trading hours and enforce compliance to liquor traders and distributors.
The raids were conducted in terms of Section 26 of the Liquor Act of 2003 which empowers an NLA inspector to conduct inspections and to issue compliance notices, to registrants that fail to adhere to their registration conditions and to produce relevant documents as prescribed by law.
Source: The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.