Cops crack down on booze, curfew busters


Police poured bottles of liquor on to the tar in a crackdown on public drinking and noise in Makhanda last Friday night 26 March.

A crowd partied on the pavement outside a New Street venue and with the music coming from the outdoor speakers so loud that residents 5km away could hear it clearly, neighbourhood WhatsApp groups were abuzz with outrage.

Police arrived around 10pm to confiscate bottles from people who were drinking in the street and emptied them out on to the street.

Also on Friday 26 March, in Alice, 56 people, including several University of Fort Hare students, were arrested and fined for contravening Alert Level One Curfew conditions. 

The arrests were in the course of Operation Gijima Tsotsi Blitz conducted by the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) in partnership with South African Police Service (SAPS) to clamp down on non-compliant liquor outlets in and around Alice.

Liquor Board spokesperson Mgwebi Msiya said the operation was part of the ECLB and SAPS initiative to enforce responsible liquor trading ahead of Easter weekend: there are fears that that liquor outlets might violate their trading conditions and  become super spreaders of Covid 19.

Also during the operation, two liquor traders were arrested for selling liquor without a valid liquor license and quantities of liquor were confiscated.

“The focus of the operation was to curb public drinking, which has become a common phenomenon in Alice,” Msiya said. “ECLB is also very concerned with the increasing rate of people who sell liquor without valid liquor licenses and will replicate similar operations in other areas of the Province.”

The curfew-breakers were fined R500 each.

In his address to the Nation on Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that alcohol sales are prohibited over the Easter weekend, from 2 to 5 April 2021.

The Eastern Cape Liquor Board encouraged community members to report cases of non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations and liquor license conditions to its toll-free line, 080 000 0420, or WhatsApp 076 403 6223.


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