Bottle stores may close in the evenings in town but there’s a “cheapie” in Gardens.
This was raised at this month’s partnership meeting held at the Cape Town Central Police station on Thursday January 30.
The meeting heard that Hope Street in Gardens had become a hub for the illegal sale of alcohol to the people living on the streets.
Central SAPS spokesperson, Captain Ezra October said the matter affected mostly Gardens residents and that it had a criminal element who were breaking into cars.
He said residents contributed to the problem by not wanting to come forward with the information. Instead, they used social media and WhatsApp groups instead of reporting the matter via the correct channels.
“People have smartphones; they have pictures of this but no one wants to come forward to us,” he said.
Captain October said the community, Law Enforcement and the police needed to work together to shut down the illegal business.
“The City also needs to get involved because the property and the streets that people live in fall under them.
“All stakeholders need to get involved to put a stop on this,” he said.
He commended the neighbourhood watch in the area for always trying to bring matters to light but added that said more needed to be done.
A car guard on Hope Street, Mumbafu Khuma, said he was aware of the alcohol that was being sold but denied that it was sold on Hope Street.
He accused some police officers of turning a blind eye to the matter because they were also benefiting from the sale.
“I work here and I know what you’re talking about. It’s called a ‘cheapie’ and the police know very well about it,” he said.
Mr Khuma said the police know the streets where the alcohol can be found, starting from Buitenkant Street in Gardens.
A security officer who asked not to be named said this had been going on for a while.
“I’ve seen the guy before and he had so much money on him and I asked one of my friends here, where does he get so much money and I was told that he pushed his alcohol business here in the evenings,” he said.
Captain October added that from what they gathered, the seller didn’t live on the streets, he had a car and could be seen in the streets selling alcohol.
He said they’ve not managed to arrest him as yet.
“We need to know where this guy gets this alcohol, if he perhaps get assistance from someone who has a liquor licence and where he keeps it,” he said.
He said they understood that bottle stores that sold alcohol mostly closed at 8pm in town and that’s when the culprit started his business.
Captain October said he was not certain whether the alcohol was sold to the homeless only or whether there were people not living on the streets who also supported the business.