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An operation in KwaZulu-Natal has led to the closure of 15 liquor outlets in Pietermaritzburg and Howick, the department of trade and industry said on Monday.

More than 35 outlets, including distributors, manufacturers, taverns, restaurants and bottle stores were raided in the operation, said spokesman Sidwell Medupe.

The operation began in Fallan Park outside Pietermaritzburg on Thursday and ended in Howick on Saturday.

The 15 closed outlets were fined up to R1500 each during the operation which included the department, police, the SA Revenue Service, the KwaZulu-Natal Liqour Authority and the KwaZulu-Natal Gambling Board.

Medupe said the purpose of the operation was to enforce compliance with South Africa's liquor legislation.

“The outlets were closed down and their owners fined because they did not adhere to the conditions of the liquor licences issued for their businesses.”

The majority of contraventions were for allowing off-site drinking, while other violations included failure to produce liquor licences and operating outside of stipulated times.

Stella Khumalo, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority, said: “Other than monitoring and enforcing, we also wanted to educate our liquor licence holders and managers of these liquor outlets, as well as their patrons, about the need to comply with the law.” -Sapa