An Eastern Cape tavern boss, who was allegedly selling alcohol illegally, was arrested by police on Saturday and liquor worth R5 million was confiscated.
He was expected to appear in the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court on Monday, alongside two co-accused, for violating the Disaster Management Act, said Eastern Cape police.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said the men are aged between 27 and 45.
He said the three were arrested at Extension 7 in Msobomvu Township for breaking regulations, which prohibit the sale of alcohol under the adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations.
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The sale of liquor for both on-site and off-site consumption is currently prohibited until 15 February, as part of the latest regulations to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move from alert Level 1 to adjusted Level 3 on 28 December.
The president said the health system was taking a strain from trauma cases associated with the use of alcohol.
This is the third time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that the sale of alcohol has been banned.
Kinana said the arrests came during an intelligence-led campaign, which included detectives and visible policing.
“According to the information, Operation Tight Grip was conducted in response to several complaints and information received from the community about a local tavern, which disregarded the lockdown regulations against the selling of liquor.
“After a two-week long observation and investigation to gather evidence on the activities of the tavern, the owner, together with two of his workers, were arrested by the police for selling liquor and using so-called black market prices,” said Kinana.
Kinana said about R5 million worth of alcohol, a firearm, ammunition, three bank speed points and two CCTV monitors were confiscated during the operation.