Covid-19 lockdown: Call to lift sales ban after 17 liquor stores looted in Cape Town
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Cape Town - Seventeen liquor stores have been burgled and looted in Cape Town amid a call to lift the ban on alcohol sales during the lockdown.
Many of those incidents occurred a day before South Africans celebrated the Easter weekend in their homes due to lockdown regulations.
In a circulated video, people believed to be residents of Elsies River can be seen making off with alcohol packs from Spar Tops liquor in Avonwood. Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said several suspects were alleged to have gained entry by breaking a door and looting bottles.
“A tracing operation resulted in the arrest of seven suspects between the ages of 18 and 33,” she said.
In another incident, in the early hours of Sunday, Potelwa said three suspects had been arrested following a burglary and theft at a liquor store in Stellenbosch. “The suspects are alleged to have broken a window, taken alcohol and fled in a vehicle.”
She said a local security company vehicle on patrol in the area was flagged by a passer-by who alerted the guards to the burglary.
"Meanwhile, traffic officials manning a roadblock nearby saw the vehicle and stopped it. In the vehicle, the stolen liquor was identified and three suspects arrested,” Potelwa said.
The suspects, aged 43, 33 and 29, were expected to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court today.
The incidents occurred while the Gauteng Liquor Forum threatens to go to court unless the government lifts the ban on alcohol sales. The forum represented about 20000 liquor businesses and argued the ban was unreasonable and unconstitutional.
Parliament Portfolio Committee on Health chairperson Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to ignore calls from the Liquor Forum to sell liquor during the lockdown.