Police on Friday arrested a group of illegal alcohol manufacturers on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast and seized counterfeit liquor of more than half a million rand.
The South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) said in a statement that police found 280 bottles of 750 ml each in a house in the Mandawe area.
In addition, 1,500 liters of pure alcohol were found, which could make another 3 400 bottles of 750 ml of liquor. “If this liquor were to be sold at the normal retail price, it would have a value of R500 000,” the statement says.
Furthermore, “hundreds” of bottles containing labels of various beverages, such as whiskey, brandy, vodka and gin, were found, along with a pile of unused plugs and glue to seal it.
One suspect was arrested at the scene and taken to the Scottburgh police station.
Salba spokeswoman Sibani Mngadi says the industry is concerned about the dangers posed by the manufacture and sale of counterfeit drinks on such a large scale to public health, especially now during the state of containment.
“We believe criminal syndicates have found a gap in the market now that there is a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“The value of R500 000, if the liquor were to be sold at normal price, is actually very conservative, because we know with the current high demand for liquor prices have skyrocketed in the black market,” says Mngadi.
He says the industry is committed to working with law enforcement to stop the illegal liquor trade.
“Refilling branded bottles with counterfeit liquid has a negative impact on the consumer perception of our brands. It is therefore in our interest, and in the interest of public health, that we assist the police in combating this type of crime, ”says Mngadi.