Gauteng police have shut down an illegal distillery and arrested 11 suspects in a sting operation in Katlehong.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Dimakatso Sello, said the bust forms part of their ongoing efforts to fight crime.
“On Tuesday, the team consisting of members from Crime Intelligence, Provincial Investigation Unit, Ekurhuleni Trio Task Team, SAPS Katlehong, DPCI, Immigration Officers and Brand Protectors operationalised information about a group of people manufacturing illicit alcohol in Katlehong,” Sello said.
The operation yielded illicit liquor with an estimated street value of R5 million.
“Of the 11 suspects, two are suspected to be foreign nationals and are due to be processed by the Department of Home Affairs. The suspects will be charged with operating an illegal micro distillery, contravening the Liquor Act and unlawful possession of ethanol. The concerted efforts of the teams involved are commendable and appreciable,” Sello added.
The alcohol ban, imposed during the Covid-19 lockdown, had created a platform for the unemployed from informal settlements to feed their families.
A research report titled, “Illicit Trade: Alcoholic Drinks in South Africa in 2020”, jointly commissioned by the South African Liquor Brand Owners Association (Salba), the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) and Vinpro, indicated that the illicit alcohol trade has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 17% since 2017 and now stands at 12% of the R177.2 billion total industry market value.
The public is urged to continue working together with police in the fight against crime by reporting any criminal activities on the Crime Stop Line 08600 10111 or leave anonymous tip-offs on My SAPS App which can be downloaded on any smartphone. All information received will be treated as strictly confidential.