Cape Town - The
owner of a Cape Winelands bottle store faces a two-year jail term for allegedly
withholding farm workers’ personal documents until they’d settled their alcohol
Liquor Authority (LA) received a tip-off from a resident that the trader was
selling alcohol to local farmworkers and retaining their social SA security
agency cards (Sassa), ID’s and bank cards as security for their debt, which is illegal.
Liquor Authority passed the information on to the police and a search warrant was obtained.
During a joint search of the premises
on Friday, liquor inspectors and police officials found 58 identity
documents, 14 Sassa cards and bank cards with pin numbers.
the time of the raid one of the farmworkers came to collect her Sassa card. The police obtained an affidavit from her and her card was returned.
Liquor Authority and the police are still investigating the matter.
If found guilty, the bottle store owner faces a fine of up to R500 000 or
two years' imprisonment.
Giliomee, the CEO of the Liquor Authority, said the matter had been reported to
is an area of great concern and we will be clamping down on this problem in the
months to come.
"Members of the community are encouraged to report this
kind of irresponsible trading to the Liquor Authority and the police,” said
Winde, the Western Cape minister in charge of liquor regulation, has called on
the liquor authority and the police to exercise the full might of the law against this bottle store
owner if he was found guilty.
“This is but one example of how unscrupulous
traders are taking advantage of vulnerable communities.
"We urge every resident
to join us in fighting this scourge and in sending out a clear warning to
irresponsible traders that their behaviour is no longer acceptable in our
society and won’t be tolerated.
"This issue also needs to be tackled on the side
of the consumer in that residents should be mindful of getting into debt to buy
booze,” Winde said.