Hefty sentence sends strong message to illegal booze traders

Malekhetho Morobe of Vlakplaas squatter camp pleaded not guilty to dealing in liquor without a licence when he appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on October 17.

He was found guilty and sentenced on November 7.

On September 1, Morobe was found to be running a lucrative business selling liquor without a licence. The cash book seized by the police served as evidence of this. Ten cases of liquor were confiscated.

Magistrate Jurg Viviers presided and Temba Maluleke represented the state.

Boksburg’s senior prosecutor Henk Strydom said this sentence sends a strong message – considering the pre-determined admission of guilt fine for selling liquor without a licence is R1 500 – and elaborated on the impact the sale of illegal alcohol has in communities.

“In this case, it is important to recognise it is not the amount of alcohol involved – which was only 10 crates – but the fact that this was found to be a full-blown, lucrative illegal liquor trade.

“Such establishments contribute hugely to liquor-related crimes such as rape, theft, murder conspiracies, assaults and underage drinking because there is no control and no regulations governing what happens here.”

Strydom cited last week’s ruling by the Johannesburg High Court that allows shebeen permit holders to trade until October 2019 on their existing permit.

In response to this ruling, the Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile said there would be increased raids on illegal drinking establishments and those that sell alcohol beyond the 2am cut off.

Maile said the ruling creates a huge administrative task for the Gauteng Liquor Board to review some parts of the liquor licensing regulations. He also said some permits should not be extended as business owners continue to contravene the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003.

“I agree that increased policing of illegal establishments and the 2am cut-off is needed. The selling of illegal liquor is a massive societal problem and is linked to many criminal activities,” Strydom said.

Lana O’Neill
Assistant Editor

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