The manager of a well-known liquor store in the Eastern Cape and one other suspect was caught selling alcohol to customers on a highway in the early hours of the morning. The pair was arrested on 13 January for breaking Level 3 lockdown rules and subsequently contravening the Disaster Management Act Regulations. 

The two male suspects aged between 38 and 39 were arrested by the police, one on the highway, while the other handed himself over on the instruction of police.

‘LIQUOR LOADED INTO PRIVATE VEHICLES’ 

SAPS Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said the arrests followed after information was received that the liquor store was continuing to sell alcohol to customers in the early hours of the morning on a highway in Mdantsane. 

“On investigation, it was established that indeed there was evidence that liquor was being loaded into private vehicles as early as before 5:00 in the early morning,” said Kinana. 

“After suspects were approached as part of the investigation, the manager admitted that they indeed sold liquor to unknown persons. Subsequently, a search warrant was obtained and inside the liquor store invoices were found,” added Kinana. 

The invoices depicted transactions which were made on different dates from 31 December 2020 to 13 January 2021. These contraventions took place during the reinstated alcohol ban under Level 3 lockdown. 

CHARGED FOR IGNORING CURFEW RULES AND FAILING TO WEAR A MASK 

Kinana said the two suspects were also charged for failing to be in their residence during the stipulated hours of curfew and for failing to wear a face mask in public, which under Level 3, is illegal. 

The pair have been summoned to appear before Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court on 9 February 2021 with the option of a R10 000 fine. 

“The value of the liquor illegally sold is estimated at R66 700,” added Kinana. 

Acting Provincial Commissioner in the Eastern Cape Major General Thembisile Patekile appreciated the work of the police and vowed to continue teaching a lesson to those who do not respect the law. 

“Non-compliance remains a criminal offence in terms of the Disaster Management Act Regulations and Lockdown restrictions, and people who are determined to violate these laws must answer for their actions in the courts of law,” Patekile said.

Investigations are continuing to trace other suspects who allegedly bought and unlawfully transported liquor during the stated period.

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Presh JM Reporter

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