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Liquor store accused of fuelling illegal trade

The Saldanha Bay store could be fined half a million rand for supplying illegal shebeens.

The Saldanha Bay store could face a half a million rand fine if found guilty of supplying illegal shebeens.

CAPE TOWN - A Western Cape bottle store accused of selling alcohol to illegal shebeens could be fined up to half a million rand if found guilty.

The Western Cape Liquor Authority carried out a search and seizure operation at the bottle store in Saldanha Bay earlier this week, in conjunction with the South African Police Service.

Provincial Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde says initial investigations bolstered suspicions of illegal activity.

"The Authority applied for a warrant and executed a search and seizure operation in conjunction with the police."

Winde says the store's delivery books were seized and will be analysed. He's warned the Authority will motivate for the harshest penalty possible if the allegations are proven to be true, including a fine of up to R500,000 and for the store's liquor license to be revoked.

The license holder faces a charge of selling alcohol to customers knowing or suspecting that they will resell the liquor without a licence. This is an offence as stipulated in the Western Cape Liquor Act.

Winde says illegal alcohol trade cannot continue unchecked.

"There are more than 300 alcohol-related deaths in the Western Cape each month and this harm is driven by illegal shebeens. We are determined to eradicate irresponsible liquor distribution and sales and encourage residents to work with us to bring irresponsible suppliers and traders to book."

The Liquor Authority has warned of similar operations in the near future and that legal traders who break the law will be caught.

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