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Johannesburg - Around 1.8 billion litres of illegally sold alcohol were seized around the country in the 2012/13 financial year, police said on Tuesday.
Thousands of illegal shebeens were also shut down during this period, said national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.
Following a press briefing in Isando, on the East Rand, she and Gauteng acting police commissioner Lt-Gen Joel Mothiba poured out thousands of litres of alcohol.
The two were joined by other police officials as they emptied different beer, cider, wine, and whisky bottles into a make-shift drain.
The stench of alcohol filled the air as the different coloured liquors frothed in the drain.
“Alcohol is socially acceptable but has a negative effect on families and communities,” said Phiyega.
People who owned illegal shebeens operated until the early hours of the morning, and patrons walking home from these shebeens at those hours became a target of crime.
“We want to decrease the amount of crime [which stems from] the illegal use of alcohol,” said Phiyega.
Mothiba said in Gauteng alone, 97 000 bottles of liquor were confiscated from illegal shebeens during the festive season.
About 350 000 illegal DVDs and CDs were also taken off the streets.
Most of the illegal goods were seized in Hillbrow in Johannesburg and in Pretoria.
Mothiba and Phiyega crushed the CDs and DVDs on Tuesday.
Phiyega said police were clamping down on people who operated their businesses illegally, as they hampered the growth of the country's economy.
“We are not friends to crime, crime is our enemy,” said Phiyega.
She said illicit trading was not just limited to alcohol, CDs and DVDs, but included clothes, shoes, and even medicines.
“People selling counterfeit goods think it's violentless crime,” said Phiyega.
The illegal traders also did not pay tax, and infringed on design and copyright, among other laws.
Phiyega said that in June 2013, police raided the premises of two Chinese nationals in Sunnyside, Pretoria, where they found illegal medicine worth R7 million.
Police seized sexual enhancement medicines, contraceptives, slimming tea, and high blood pressure medication.
“Some of these products contained dagga,” said Phiyega, who added that consumers could not tell as the products' lists of ingredients were in Chinese.
Phiyega called on the public to alert police about people who operated their businesses illegally.