The Western Cape Community Safety MEC Alan Winde on Wednesday said police Minister Bheki Cele’s instruction to shut down all illegal and non-compliant shebeens has “fallen flat,” pointing out that there has been no evidence of action since last week. File Photo: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN - Community Safety MEC, Alan Winde, said Police Minister Bheki Cele’s instruction to shut down all illegal and non-compliant shebeens has “fallen flat,” pointing out that there has been no evidence of action since last week.

Speaking at an Imbizo in George last Friday, Cele ordered SAPS officials in the province to shut down all illegal and non-compliant shebeens within the next 48 hours.

Winde accused Cele of lacking understanding of the problems faced by Western Cape residents, saying that Cele’s call was “completely unrealistic and pure politicking".  

“In the first place, this call was completely unrealistic, and pure politicking. It also shows Cele’s complete lack of understanding of the scale of the problem. This is not surprising since the national minister sits in Pretoria, far away from the problems faced by Western Cape residents,” he said.  

According to Winde’s office, it is estimated that in the Western Cape alone, there could be up to 25,000 illegal shebeens. Illegal operators act outside of the law, and the only body which can shut them down is the SAPS.

“Cele lost the battle against illegal shebeens long ago, which have been allowed to bourgeon unhindered for over a decade. Cele is a sleeping beauty who seems to have woken up one month before the election," Winde said.

“Even though we do not have a mandate over illegal operations, the Western Cape Government has taken action. Through our Alcohol Harms Reduction (AHR) Game Changer pilots, we have been at the forefront of attempts to address the issue of illegal trading and associated alcohol harms.” 

Cele's office was not immediately available for comment.

African News Agency (ANA)