Hennie’s Sports Bar and Restaurant. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Hennie’s Sports Bar and Restaurant. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Demand for answers after police ‘unlawfully’ confiscated booze from Hennie’s Restaurant

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Oct 4, 2021

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Pretoria - There has been no progress in the investigation into police who are accused of unlawfully confiscating alcohol from a restaurant in Pretoria East early this year.

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit had demanded answers from law enforcement and prosecuting authorities over the delay of investigations.

Silverton police officers confiscated alcohol at Hennie’s Restaurant in Moreleta Park.

In a letter sent to the SAPS on Friday, the unit demanded answers as to why the police were seemingly delaying the investigation into the alleged involvement of officials in the theft of liquor at Hennie's Restaurant during the lockdown in January.

According to the organisation, despite assurances by national SAPS commissioner General Khehla Sitole that they viewed the theft in a very serious light and would take the necessary steps against the relevant officials, the investigation had amounted to nothing.

Natasha Venter, adviser for the unit, said the police’s answers as to why no steps had been taken against the officials was worrying.

Venter said the police simply stated to the unit that the docket had been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and that they were awaiting a decision regarding prosecution.

“It seems that the police are reluctant to investigate suspects within their own ranks.

“It raises red flags when it seems that those people who are supposed to protect the community commit crimes, which are then covered up by their seniors. AfriForum will therefore continue to apply pressure to ensure that justice is done in this case.

“The impression created from the letters of the SAPS is that police management is simply dealing with this matter in an incompetent manner. AfriForum will not tolerate such blatant dereliction of duty.” In March, the owner of Hennie’s Restaurant, Werner Pretorius, with the assistance of the unit, filed criminal charges of fraud and theft at the Garsfontein police station against several officers, regarding the unlawful and irrational confiscation of the alcohol – valued at R112 000 – from the Garsfontein restaurant’s storeroom.

Three police officers allegedly entered the restaurant on January 22, alleging that restaurant manager, Atrayo Nolte, was serving alcoholic drinks to customers despite the manager's assurances that they were only serving non-alcoholic gin and tonic to patrons.

After unlawfully arresting Nolte on the accusation of illegally selling alcohol to patrons in contravention of the lockdown regulations, the officers demanded that the storeroom be opened and confiscated the alcohol locked away there.

The police then allegedly persisted in keeping the alcohol for several days, despite the prosecuting authority dropping all charges against Nolte.

However, when the stock was returned, it was discovered that some of it was missing, with some of the bottles’ contents replaced with tea.

Both the NPA and SAPS had yet to comment by late yesterday.

Pretoria News

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