Sisonke Mlamla, IOL, April 9, 2020
The start of the Easter weekend has seen more liquor stores looted in Cape Town.
Four incidents of looting occurred a day before South Africans celebrate the Easter weekend in their homes due to lockdown regulations.
In one of the circulated video, people, believed to be residents of Elsies River, can be seen making off with alcohol parks from Spar Tops liquor in Avondale.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said Elsies River police were called out to Avonwood Square Shopping Centre where there was a break-in into a liquor store.
Potelwa said several suspects were alleged to have gained entry to the store by breaking a door open and they looted bottles of alcohol.
“A tracing operation in the area resulted in the arrest of seven suspects between the ages of 18 and 33,” she said, they have been charged with burglary and theft.
On another incident in the early hours of Thursday morning, Potelwa said Steenberg police were on patrol in Retreat when they witnessed two suspects stepping out of a liquor store with bottles of alcohol.
She said the suspects fled and the police gave chase. “A 30-year-old woman was arrested and charged with burglary and theft. More suspects are still sought.”
A third incident occurred on Thursday afternoon in Belhar, where suspects seen on videos breaking windows gaining entry at Spar Tops.
Potelwa said that meanwhile two suspects in their late twenties were arrested in Hermanus for burglary and theft today after someone broke a window to a liquor store and stole several bottles of alcohol in the early hours of Thursday.
Both suspects are still in custody on charges of burglary and theft.
Last night in Mbekweni, Paarl, police have arrested six suspects following an incident where a liquor store in the area was broken into and alcohol looted on Wednesday evening.
According to Potelwa, It was alleged that about 20 people stormed the business premises after they broke a door to the store thereby gaining access. “Yet-to-be determined quantities of liquor were taken.”
Western Cape Police Commissioner, Yolisa Matakata has warned those who break the law that they would be sought and arrested.
“We have intensified all efforts in a bid to deal with those who commit crime,” Matakata said
Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (Saapa SA) director Maurice Smithers proposed that liquor stores either empty their shops or should stick papers over their windows so that people cannot see inside.
Smithers said that would help to prevent the temptation to break in – and if the windows are papered over, people won’t know that there is liquor inside or not.
“In the end, liquor outlets must take action to prevent looting from taking place,” Smithers said.
The recent incidents come in less than five days after a Shoprite liquor store was burgled and looted in Langa township on Sunday, which resulted in the arrest of two suspects.
Few hours after the Langa incident, another liquor store in the Nyanga terminus was also broken into on Sunday evening, with no arrests made.
Still few hours after the Nyanga incident, armed robbers threatened liquor store security guards, broke into the premises and stole liquor in large quantities in the early hours of Monday in Brackenfell.