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Cape Town - Police raided unlicensed shebeens in Nyanga on Wednesday, seizing more than 200 litres of alcohol from two premises.
Colonel Jacques van Lill, who was in charge of the operation, said raids of this kind were carried out daily across the province, amounting to about 350 a month.
“Nyanga is one of the police stations that conducts the most operations,” Van Lill said.
The first shebeen that police visited was near the Nyanga police station where they confiscated 93 litres of alcohol and arrested the owner. Another owner was arrested at a shebeen in Crossroads, where police confiscated 119 litres of alcohol.
But some residents raised concerns about the operation.
One, who refused to be named, said: “When we are being robbed, the police are nowhere to be seen but when people are trying to make a decent living, they come here to arrest them.”
This particular owner was also raided last Thursday. “Only old people drink there and there are never any fights on the premises.
“If they want to solve crime then they must close down the distributors that supply him with alcohol and also go and arrest the people bringing drugs into Nyanga. There are no jobs and people are just trying to make a living,” the resident continued.
Van Lill said there was a correlation between liquor and contact crime in the area, and that Nyanga had “a lot” of unlicensed shebeens.
“Unfortunately we do not write the laws, we are here to enforce them. Liquor is a major roleplayer in contact crime and we are doing all that we can.”
After the operation in Nyanga the police went to Belhar where they destroyed some of the alcohol confiscated over the past few months.
Provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer and the MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, were present.
Lamoer said: “We will always have shebeens. If we close them down, they move to another area. We need to get the support of the community to stop supporting shebeens.”
Plato said he was there to support the police for their good work and that alcohol was a social ill that could only be tackled if politicians and the police worked together.