Police in Mpumalanga shot rubber bullets at customers last weekend after they became agitated when a liquor store was found selling alcohol on a Sunday.
Two people, including a three-year-old child, were injured during the incident.
Brig. Police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said in a statement on Wednesday that police officials received information on a liquor store in Weltevrede near Siyabuswa that sells alcohol to customers. The buying and selling of alcohol is only allowed between Mondays and Thursdays between 09:00 and 17:00 during level 3 of the seclusion period.
Hlathi said police officers visited the liquor store in question where they interviewed an employee at the pay point. The employee explained that the owner of the liquor store ordered her to stay open even on a Sunday.
“Police officers arrested the woman after which patrons, who were drinking on the premises, began to surround police officers,” Hlathi explained.
According to Hlathi, the patrons bumped into police officers. They also removed the keys of a police vehicle from the vehicle to try to prevent the seized alcohol from being loaded into the vehicle.
“Police officers warned patrons to move back when they realized their lives were in danger. However, the warning was not heeded and the [patrons] just moved closer to the police officers. The police were then forced to use rubber bullets because of the circumstances, ”Hlathi explained.
Two people, one of whom is a three-year-old child, were injured in the process. A case in this regard has meanwhile been filed with the police.
However, Hlathi said customers had calmed down and the liquor store employee was arrested at the scene. They have since pleaded guilty and paid a fine of R3 000.
Lt. Genl. Provincial police chief Mondli Zuma has called on the public to respect law enforcement and to give them the necessary space to carry out their duties.
“The police are there to enforce the law. People need to know that there are laws in this country that need to be complied with, ”Zuma said.