“Police harassment”

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The traders are accusing police of ill-treatment when conducting raids at their premises. It is alleged police confiscate their booze and money before arresting owners.

Singing Struggle songs and toyi-toying, the owners demanded the resignation of the station’s Designated Liquor Officer, accusing him of racism.

They also want the government to empower them.

They also called for police to assist them in convincing authorities to grant trading licenses or permits.

The protesters gave police management 14 days to respond to their demands, failing which they will declare the police as enemy of the traders.

Zandisiwe Chosi, NYALITO Secretary and owner of Mazoe’s Tarven in Brown’s Farm, Philippi, accused the police of harassing traders.

“The way the police treat us when they visit our places is wrong. They are rude. Sometimes when they find customers drinking their beers outside they fine the owner R10 000 or arrest us. They also arrest shebeen owners for operating without licenses while they are trying to put food on the table for their children,” said Chosi.

Captain Franklin De Villiers accepted the memorandu on behalf of the station commander, Lieutenant Vuyisile Ncata, who was reportedly in a meeting.

De Villiers promised to hand the memorandum over to management.

Chosi added: “They (police) confiscate our liquor and our money and then arrest us. Sometimes we don’t get our liquor back on demand,”.

Chosi said they wished for an amiable relationship with the police, though. They want to sit down with them and find common ground, she emphasized.

Western Cape Liquor Traders Organisation secretary Lefa Mapilo, said the traders were only trying to make an honest living.

“They can’t blame us for escalating crime in the communities. Crime is every body’s problem.

I would understand if the police complained about loud music, for closing late and not allowing customers to drink in public,” said Mapilo.

He urged the government to stop harassing them by closing down their business while allowing retail stores to operate in their communities vwithout any restrictions on trade.