S.African policemen arrested for illegal liquor deals during lockdown
South Africa’s police service said it had arrested four of its members for allegedly taking part in illegal liquor trade, undermining a lockdown ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.
outh Africa’s police service said it had arrested four of its members for allegedly taking part in illegal liquor trade, undermining a lockdown ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.
everal shuttered liquor outlets have been looted since President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed a nation-wide lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Police minister Bheki Cele on Sunday said there had been at 16 reports of raids on liquor stores in South Africa’s Western Cape province, home to the southern city of Cape Town, since the lockdown started on March 27.
Cele also “noted with concern the alleged involvement of police members in some of the liquor related crimes”.
Two warrant officers were arrested on Thursday after police received a tip-off and “pounced on the suspects inside the store”, Cele said in a statement.
They were caught “buying liquor that was allegedly going to be resold illegally elsewhere,” he added.
Another two members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were arrested in northern Mpumalanga province on Friday for using state vehicles to escort three pick-up trucks loaded with alcohol.
“The three vehicles allegedly belong to a tavern owner who was also arrested with two other drivers,” the police said.
Cele has called for an urgent meeting with liquor retailers to address the growing black market for alcohol. He has also urged local police to crack down on shop looters.
To date South Africa has detected 2,028 cases of coronavirus, the highest in Africa. At least 25 people have died from the disease.