Two months ago South Africa’s booze ban became a headline while following the Covid-19 lockdown. Now after the country lifted the ban, people are trailing in extensive queues to purchase alcohol.
A shop that was off licensed and had a wall at least 2ft-thick, was broken into after thieves unwilling to wait out the lockdown restrictions to lift, tunneled through it, and stole £15,000 worth alcohol in Johannesburg. This robbery took place before the lifting of South Africa’s booze ban.
Other stores across South Africa shown in footages and images from within and outside show people lined up happily before coming out of stores with crates and crates of different assortments of alcohol.
The ban had taken place two months ago to curtail alcohol-related violence, as hospital admissions had been on the rise during the pandemic.
Alcohol was the solely responsible cause of 40 percent of hospital cases in South Africa even before the coronavirus pandemic. The cases that were reported included 34,000 cases of trauma being assisted in emergency departments every week as a normal occurrence.
After the imposed lockdown, SOuth Africa’s booze ban ensured a drop in A&E admitted cases which in turn kept more hospital beds free for patients of coronavirus, officials reported.
It is also noted however that besides the drops in A&E admissions, there were cases of deaths or hospitalizations from drinking lethal alcohol brewed at home.
The black market made use of the ban and was found to be selling bottles of wines and spirits four times the actual value of the booze to satiate the desperate demand.
On opening their shop after the lifted ban, the surprised manager at Shoprite discovered that there was not a bottle left in the store to sell.
The source from Shoprite explains the manageress was distressed and shocked when she could not find the alcohol that was supposed to be on the shelves. The store was strictly locked up but when she strolled around she found an open tunnel next to fridge freezers and understood the unexplained disappearance of booze.
It appeared that the thieves had figured out where the electrical drains and stormwater drains run. Under the shopping mall leading up to the shop, they had figured out how to end up right below the liquor store.
To break noiselessly into several feet of concrete to tunnel into the store, they are suspected to have used pneumatic drills or chisels and hammers.
In the CCTV footage of the store, three men are seen inside the liquor store as far as 10 days ago but more people are suspected to have been waiting patiently below within the tunnel.
They are believed to have passed all the bottles of Bacardi, whiskey, gin, vodka, brandy, and rum amongst other alcoholic beverages down the tunnel, including several crates of cider, lager, and ale until it reached a possible waiting truck.
The booze is assumed to have gone through a chain of people until it must’ve been loaded into a truck. It must have taken some time and many visits to completely rob the store. The source confirms that they had no idea until the manageress went and opened the store for business following the lifting of South Africa’s booze ban.
Shoprite confirmed that they had no information as to how any thieves were involved or how long the procedure of drilling had happened in their store, to steal alcohol over £15,000.
Loss Control Manager Oswald Meiring confirmed CCTV footage, as to showing three men roaming the store possibly passing stocks to other compliances in the tunnel beneath the store. An arrest reward of R50, 000 (£2,500) has been put up, confirmed the Loss Control Manager.