The City of Cape Town’s Vice Squad and Liquor Enforcement Units had numerous successes in the last week during a series of autonomous and joint operations focusing on prostitution and illegal liquor sales.
On Wednesday 16 March 2016, the Vice Squad conducted a joint operation with the Hawks on a suspected brothel in the Cape Town central business district. They arrested four women for prostitution. While searching the premises, a client who was in one of the rooms on the second floor tried to escape by jumping through the window. The man smashed the window frame and fractured his leg upon landing on the ground. He was transported to Groote Schuur hospital for treatment.
‘Fortunately for this man, pain and embarrassment are the worst of his woes as current legislation doesn’t provide for a client using the services of a prostitute to be charged unless they are caught in the act. Had he known that, I imagine he would not have turned stuntman,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.Operations in Brooklyn, Bellville, Macassar and Atlantis resulted in the issuing of 31 spot fines for solicitation totalling R37 700, as well as five compliance notices to women found conducting their trade on the streets.
Meanwhile, the City’s Liquor Enforcement Unit conducted inspections of 78 premises in Milnerton, Bothasig, Tokai, Langa, central Cape Town and Parow in the last week. Officers issued 17 spot fines totalling R28 000. In addition, they executed three warrants of arrest and issued 11 compliance notices to owners of establishments that did not comply with the relevant regulations.
During integrated operations with the South African Police Service in Mfuleni, Durbanville and Kraaifontein, spot fines totalling R9 500 were issued to shebeen owners not complying with the City’s by-laws. Two suspects were also arrested for selling alcohol without a valid liquor licence.
A Bonteheuwel tavern owner was hit with a R32 000 fine after the Liquor Enforcement Unit referred his case to the Western Cape Liquor Authority for failing to adhere to his trading hours.
‘That fine amount is probably what this tavern owner makes in a day or two, but we have to work with what we have in terms of available sanctions. The public inundate us with complaints about illegal or irregular liquor sales, but it is important to understand that it is not a sprint to get a problematic liquor premises shut down, but more of a marathon. Some tavern and shebeen owners are sanctioned once and toe the line; others are determined to push the limits and while they may initially get off with a slap on the wrist, continued disregard for the law eventually sees them falling into the hole that they’ve dug for themselves. I’m looking forward to new regulations that are set to be enacted in April which will allow the City to enforce the provincial Liquor Act,’ added Alderman Smith.
Members of the public can lodge complaints with the Liquor Enforcement Unit and Vice Squad on 021 980 1386.