Minister of Police Bheki Cele urged the South African Police Service (SAPS) management in the Western Cape to arrest and deal decisively with those behind burglaries and looting of liquor outlets in the province.
SAPS says at least sixteen (16) reported incidents of burglary and looting of liquor outlets took place since lockdown. Videos of liquor stores being ransacked trended the past week on social media.
Meanwhile, twenty-one (21) people have been arrested including the four (4) that were on the trending video of the Shoprite liquor store in Langa.
Cele says he notes with concern the SAPS members who were also implicated on the liquor-related crimes. “Two Warrant Officers from the Delft FCS Unit in the Western Cape were arrested together with a liquor store manager and a cashier in Strand, after police on Thursday 09 April 2020, responded to a tip-off and pounced on the suspects inside the store, buying liquor that was allegedly going to be resold illegally elsewhere,” SAPS confirmed.
To combat this, Minister Cele has called for an urgent meeting where together with SAPS management, they will engage liquor retailers to address this problem and work out a collaborative strategy towards mitigating this emerging risk.
The Gauteng Liquor Forum has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding that he immediately remove, amend or lift regulations that place a total ban on the sale of alcohol.
Political parties have supported government efforts to ban the sales of alcohol. “We repeat our support for the #LockdownSA ban on alcohol sales. It’s clearly proven that alcohol abuse is a leading cause of criminal activities, accidents, injuries, abuse and deaths.
You just have to look at the huge drop in such cases in the last 2 weeks for confirmation,” ACDP announced early this morning.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have also rejected the call by Gauteng Liquor Forum. In a statement today, the EFF says it is an indisputable fact that Alcohol abuse is the centre of socially destructive behaviour.
There have also been fewer crime incidents since the sales of alcohol has been halted, Cele revealed recently.
Speaking on his briefing in Mbalenhle in Secunda, Mpumalanga on Tuesday this week, Cele says South Africans should stop bothering him with requests to allow alcohol sales.
“Stop making this request for bottle stores to be opened for three hours. There are no bottle stores that will be opened here, not until the 16th,” Cele said.