Durban - The underlying causes of crime and violence need to be tackled through integrated community crime and violence prevention initiatives, says the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro).
Nicro was commenting after the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority (KZNLA) announced that it has shut down 18 illegal liquor outlets and seized thousands of litres of alcohol in Pietermaritzburg, uMlazi and Empangeni.
Nicro said they welcomed the action taken by the KZNLA following the recent shootings.
“While we are encouraged by the steps that have been taken, we must remember that there are deeper social elements at play that need to be addressed as well,” said Betzi Pierce, CEO of Nicro.
The operations come after the tragic shooting at a tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, that left four dead and eight others injured.
KZNLA acting communications manager Nomthandazo Dlamini said the operations, which were conducted with law enforcement agencies and other government institutions, sought to ensure compliance and adherence to the licence conditions of the licence granted.
The blitz operation held on July 15 in the Plessislaer policing area in Pietermaritzburg uncovered four unlicensed (illegal) outlets. The authority said the owners were charged with dealing in liquor without a licence and cases were opened. A total of 878 litres of alcohol was seized in that operation.
In uMlazi, seven unlicensed (illegal) outlets were found respectively, the owners were charged with dealing in liquor without a licence and cases opened.
Seven suspects were issued with fines, the total amount of fines was to the amount of R10 500 and 179.20 litres of liquor were confiscated in uMlazi.
In Empangeni, seven unlicensed (illegal) outlets were found and 485.98 litres of alcohol were seized.
Dlamini said they are particularly concerned at the number of illegal outlets mushrooming across the province.
However, she added that they were encouraged by their inspectors, who had been diligently conducting compliance inspections in all districts and working with law enforcement in shutting down these illegal outlets.
Pierce of Nicro said: “Integrated community crime and violence prevention initiatives can play an important role in reducing the rate of crime and violence in our communities, by addressing the underlying risk factors that cause crime and violence.”
Pierce said organisations like Nicro and other civic bodies have a role to play in identifying these risk factors as well as in addressing them.
“The actions taken by the liquor authority would only be bolstered by being part of such an integrated approach, where everyone contributes to addressing risk factors that lead to crime and violence.
“Now is the time for our society to really look at the causes of crime and violence and to take action to address them, before they escalate,” she added.