Durban - Thousands of litres of alcohol were confiscated and illegal outlets were fined during a blitz on taverns situated in some of Durban’s crime hotspots including Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK).
From December 28 to January 3, KwaZulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube was joined by provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority on the raids.
Dube-Ncube said the operation was aimed at curbing gender-based violence (GBV) and clamping down on illegal taverns.
“We focused on the INK because a lot of violent crimes have been reported in these areas. Crimes such as rape and violent contact crimes are reported in taverns, especially in those taverns that are illegal. Such places do not have requisite equipment, like panic buttons to report crime to law enforcement,” she said.
Dube-Ncube added that the raids were conducted to also ensure compliance by liquor establishments.
“We also conducted the blitz in order to monitor liquor outlets with licences adhere to regulations – such as not selling alcohol to minors and not operating beyond stipulated hours. It concerns us as a government that most cases of gender-based violence occur in liquor outlets, especially unlicensed ones and those that do not adhere to licences regulations,” she said.
The KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority said thousands of litres of alcohol were confiscated during the operations.
It said in the KwaMashu operation on Tuesday, four premises were found to be illegally selling liquor.
“Four illegal premises were found and all were closed. A licensed outlet was charged R1 500 for selling takeaways when licensed for sit-in only.”
On Monday, in uMlazi, three illegal outlets were charged with selling liquor without a licence and were given a R4 500 fine and several litres of alcohol were confiscated.
For the December operations, in KwaMashu, three alleged outlets were visited but two were not operating and at the third premises, the bar attendant fled and an arrest could not be made.
In the Ntuzuma operation, some alcohol was confiscated and one illegal outlet was charged for selling without a licence and fined R1000.
Mkhwanazi said the security compliance at taverns was of utmost importance.
“At some taverns the security in terms of people coming in and out is not there and we know what happened previously in drinking spots where criminals would come in with firearms and they would shoot people inside and leave. That is why we are emphasising the point that security compliance is very important so that those that are coming in need to be searched, so they do not come with dangerous weapons inside.”
He added that underage drinking and GBV also occurred at liquor establishments.
“Those are some of the violations that we find in these drinking spots,” he said.