The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Northern Cape have arrested a shebeen owner in Kimberley whom, in contravention of the alcohol ban, was illegally selling liquor.

The arrest of the so-called “shebeen kingpin” was on Sunday, 17 January 2021 and came after police had received a tip-off about his illegal dealings.

“The suspect was found selling liquor from his house at inflated price to the public. He had no valid liquor trading license or a license to operate a tavern from his house, situated in Newton Road, Beaconsfield,” said SAPS spokesperson Olebogeng Tawana.

Police found alcohol worth an estimated R4 800, which was subsequently confiscated.

Alcohol ban spurs rise in home-made beer

Law enforcement in the country has had a busy weekend, making a number of arrests for lockdown-related offences and particularly, the alcohol ban.

Northern Cape police continued using their powers of enforcement, particularly related to the alcohol ban. In one incident, a group of people were found gathered in Phuthanang in Galeshewe, busy buying and drinking fermented beer and alcohol.

Most of the people found on the premises were not wearing face masks and were then ordered to disperse. Police then slapped the owner with a fine and the fermented beer was disposed. Some South Africans who have been unable to quest their thirst for liquor, due to the alcohol ban, have resorted to making booze themselves, which police have warned against.

“Crime prevention and Adjusted Level 3 Covid-19 Regulations enforcement, continued in Galeshewe, Kimberley, Green Point and Roodepan to ensure that the public adhere to Lockdown Regulations,” Tawana said.

“Public members are warned not to drink homemade alcohol, as the effects thereof can be dangerous. Enforcement and monitoring of Covid 19 regulations for compliance is continuing”

SAPS Spokesperson Olebogeng Tawana

Under Level 3 of the lockdown, the sale and on-site consumption of alcohol is banned. So far, government has not shown any signs of possibly relaxing some of the restrictions surrounding the alcohol ban, despite calls by the industry, which has expressed concern over the job losses spurred by the controversial restriction.

During his first address to the nation for the year 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa left the alcohol ban in place, arguing that it has paid off, as hospitals reported fewer trauma cases, enabling them to further attend to the flood of COVID-19-related ailments.

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Presh JM Reporter

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