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Police Minister Bheki Cele Targets Alcohol Outlets to Curb Crime in KZN

Published December 24, 2023
7 months ago

As the country finds itself in the festive thrust, South Africa’s Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has expressed grave concerns regarding the surging number of alcohol outlets in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), impacting the safety and security of communities across the region. His statements come amidst the final rounds of the Festive Season Inspection Roadshow, a significant campaign focused on crime deterrence and public safety.

Harnessed by a multi-disciplinary task force, including the Road Traffic Inspectorate and supporting private security entities, the inspection roadshow is a concerted effort to mitigate crime during one of the busiest times of the year. Operations entail widespread stop and search protocols along major routes of the country to safeguard the public against illicit activities.

Commencing the KZN leg in Richards Bay, the Minister, flanked by National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola and provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, inspected areas like KwaDukuza, Umlazi, and Durban. Cele has been unequivocal in addressing the licentious proliferation of liquor outlets, referring explicitly to illegal shebeens with a zero-tolerance approach: shut them down.

The Minister did not spare licenced establishments, either, issuing a stern warning on strict adherence to regulations, failing which, revocation of licences loomed as a certainty. Cele emphasized the correlation between unbridled alcohol consumption and the surge in crimes, ranging from public disturbances to acts of violence, urging stringent compliance checks for issues such as underage drinking and the sale of illegal substances.

Furthermore, Cele interfaced with community members during his visit to the KwaDukuza Mall. Feedback was a mixture of concern over rampant crime, including house robberies and the lack of safety after dark, contrasting perspectives of improved situations due to heightened police visibility, and calls for augmenting police accessibility.

Reassuring those gathered, Cele lauded the effective execution of operations so far, citing the confiscation of illegal firearms and weapons as reigning triumphs in mitigating potential criminality. Cele's satisfaction extended towards the public’s overall comportment and the positive influence of the 10,000 recently deployed police recruits enhancing law enforcement presence.

In the drive to ensure peaceful festive celebrations, Cele implied continued vigilance and law enforcement's readiness to elevate its interventions if public behaviour regressed, asserting the intent to maintain order through the season and beyond.

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