Western Cape Liquor Authority Swoops in on Bottle Store
The owner of a Cape Winelands bottle store faces a two-year jail term for allegedly withholding farm workers’ personal documents until they’d settled their alcohol debt.
The Liquor Authority (LA) received a tip-off from a resident that the trader was selling alcohol to local farmworkers and retaining their South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) cards, IDs and bank cards as security for their debt. This practice is illegal.
The LA passed the information on to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a search warrant was obtained. During a joint search of the premises on Friday 5 July 2013, LA inspectors and SAPS officials found 58 identity documents, 14 SASSA cards and bank cards with relevant Pin numbers.
At the time of the raid one of the farmworkers came to collect her SASSA card. The SAPS obtained an affidavit from her and her card was released.
The LA and SAPS are still investigating the matter further and if found guilty, the bottle store owner faces a fine of up to R500 000 or two years' imprisonment.
Thys Giliomee, the CEO of the Liquor Authority, said the matter had been reported to SASSA.
“This is an area of great concern and we will be clamping down on this problem in the months to come. Members of the community are encouraged to please report this kind of irresponsible trading to the Liquor Authority and the SAPS,” said Giliomee.
Alan Winde, the Western Cape Minister in charge of liquor regulation, has called on the LA and SAPS to exercise the full might of the law against this bottle store owner if he is found guilty.
“This is but one example of how unscrupulous traders are taking advantage of vulnerable communities. We urge every resident to join us in fighting this scourge and in sending out a clear warning to irresponsible traders that their behaviour is no longer acceptable in our society and won’t be tolerated. This issue also needs to be tackled on the side of the consumer in that residents should be mindful of getting into debt to buy booze.”