Joint Operation Cracks down on Non-Compliant Liquor Outlets in Wallacedene and Bloekombos
On Monday, 12 December 2011, Western Cape Minister in charge of liquor regulation, Alan Winde, Liquor Board inspectors, the South African Police Service (SAPS), City of Cape Town law enforcement officials and the Kraaifontein Community Policing Forum led a joint operation to crack down on illegal liquor operations.
The surprise blitz targeted 34 outlets in the Wallacedene and Bloekombos area to investigate whether vendors were adhering to the conditions of their liquor licences.
In several cases, fines were issued for selling liquor from incorrectly zoned parts of the premises and for not having working fire extinguishers. Other transgressions that the inspectors were on the lookout for included serving alcohol to minors, selling alcohol for off-consumption with an on-consumption licence, lapsed licences and the violation of trading hours.
At the blitz, Minister Winde said: "I am also extremely concerned to see the number of outlets that have crates of mass-produced concoctions masquerading as 'ale', some of which are stacked two storeys high. This stuff is tik in a bottle and it's manufactured for one purpose only: to get people motherless drunk. What's worse is that it's cheaper than water. I will be exploring every possible avenue to have it declared an illegal substance so that we can eradicate it from our communities. Every festive season, I think about those families that are broken to pieces because of deaths as a result of alcohol. This must stop."
Since April, joint operation teams have conducted 1 700 inspections across the province and have issued fines in excess of R120 000. "We are enforcing a zero-tolerance approach, and a further 400 raids are planned for the December and January festive period. In addition, law enforcement will keep a close watch on premises that have already been inspected to ensure that non-compliant behaviour has ceased," said Minister Winde.
Chairperson of the Liquor Board, Mr Raybin Windvogel, explained that a licence is granted based on an agreement between the Liquor Board, the local community and the seller: "We impose conditions for a reason and when sellers don't obey them, the entire community is affected by increased crime, vehicle crashes, domestic violence and general disorder. We need to guard against these highly damaging effects of alcohol by creating a culture of compliance."
Chairperson of the Kraaifontein Community Policing Forum, Clamen Solomons, welcomed the blitz: "The community will continue to work with SAPS and all other stakeholders to squeeze crime to zero. Liquor outlets need to understand and abide by the law, regulations and policies of the Liquor Act. Alcohol abuse in our area is currently creating high and violent crimes."
Minister Winde concluded: "The Western Cape Government is taking a hard stance against sellers who don't obey the law. We understand that liquor is an important income and employment generator for our province, but this must be weighed against its harms. If licensed outlets abide by the rules, we'll see a significant drop in the negative effects of alcohol. We encourage them to get their houses in order now. This December and January, we are ramping up inspections in partnership with SAPS, municipal law enforcement and local CPFs around the province to ensure responsible trading and consumption of alcohol. Through these actions, we are making our communities better together."
If liquor outlets have any queries relating to licensing, they can call the Western Cape Government Liquor Board call centre on: 0860 142 142.