The man who was found with fake liquor at his home said they were producing sanitizers. Tobias Mbhele from Mandawe who refused to be photographed or recorded but agreed to talk to Daily Sun said around 10 cops raided his home on Friday.
He distanced himself from whatever was found in the house that was searched by police and claims the house was being rented by a foreign national by the name of Abdul. He said Abdul told him he was producing sanitizers.
Mbhele said he doesn’t know what happened to Abdul’s room when police went to knock for him but they came back and forced the door of the rondavel open where police claimed to have found fake alcohol.
He said he wasn’t arrested which proved that he wasn’t involved in any wrongdoing. According to the statement by South Africa Liqour Brandowners Association Sibani Mngadi, half a million rand worth of fake booze was confiscated.
He said police discovered 280 bottles (750ml) of spirits were found in the house and one suspect was arrested. He said a further 1500 litres of pure alcohol which could potential 3400 bottles of 750 ml was also found.
He said it estimated that the liquor would cost R500 000 if sold at a normal price but with the high demand for alcohol because of lockdown it would cost higher.
Mngadi said empty bottles of different brands of spirits together with a stack of unused caps and glue for sealing> He said the industry was concerned about the risk to public health posed by the production and sale of fake liquor.
Our view is that criminal syndicates have found the gap in the market with the prohibition of formal sales of alcohol,” said Mngadi. There was a mixed reaction to the police action.
Locals who spoke to the Daily Sun but asked not to be named said it was a blow to them, boozers, in the area since genuine liquor wasn’t on sale. Many of them said the fake liquor was a normal business in the area even before the lockdown.
Induna Vukani Cele said he was aware of the fake Smirnoff vodka known as Mzambia was available in the area but didn’t know who was producing it.
He said he was waiting for full details from Mbhele before he takes the matter to inkosi Sifiso Cele. Induna as a leader of the area said he was against illegal businesses such as this one because it put the lives of the people at risk.