The shut down of the illegal liquor outlets at the weekend were as a result of a joint operation including the dti entity, the National Liquor Authority (NLA), the Northern Cape Liquor Board and the South African Police Services (SAPS).
The operation carried out in Kuruman, Mothibistad, Batlharos and Kathu inspected 70 liquor outlets.
Of the 70 outlets, 40 were issued with compliance notices for contravening the country’s liquor laws, while ten were shut down as they were found to be operating without licences.
Fines to the value of R5 000 were issued and more than 860 litres of liquor were confiscated by the SAPS officers.
Liquor inspector of the Northern Cape Liquor Board, Mpho Bhunu, said 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 on Monday.
He said the provincial liquor board uses targeted interventions like the inspection blitz 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.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
“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,” said Motau.
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, and the large number of crimes committed in the area, among others.
Mothibistad resident Boipelo Kgalegang said joint operations such as these would go a long way to saving her community and others from alcohol abuse.
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.