Rampant public drinking was again a problem in Campbell Street last Saturday night, when throngs of revellers parked in the street outside Kenny’s Sports Bar after midnight and drank alcohol openly, discarding their empty cans and bottles in the street.
Several people tried to bring their own booze into Kenny’s but were told they were not allowed to by security at the gate. A number of men stood drinking outside the fence. Similarly, others tried to buy alcohol from the bar to take off the premises but were told that was not permitted as it contravened their on-consumption licence. A man identified as a Ndlambe councillor bought ten beers and then complained when the tops were all removed, as is always done with any customer to pre-empt any potential take-away sales. When he made an issue of it, he was refunded.
When TotT began taking a video of the public drinking, we were verbally abused and threatened by several people. One man said this reporter would be “beaten up”.
Two police vehicles drove past the scene but police did not react to the public drinking. The last police car we saw was marked PA 2. It came past Kenny’s at about 1.30am, did a loop in the street and drove away without any intervention.
The original story:
SAPS to probe failure to act on public drinking
The SAPS Port Alfred Cluster is conducting an internal investigation into an accusation that police failed to act in accordance with the law when called to attend to public drinking in Campbell Street.
Last Saturday night, the proprietors of Kenny’s Pub called the police for assistance as throngs of revellers who came to Kenny’s after midnight were drinking in public outside the venue – having brought their own alcohol with them.
TotT witnessed the incident. Barbara Kenny informed us that it has happened before. The revellers apparently come from taverns which close earlier – Kenny’s closes at 2am on weekends – but favour having a car boot party in the street and just use the toilets at Kenny’s.
Kenny’s also has a strict policy of not allowing its customers to take alcohol off the premises, as it contravenes the conditions of its liquor licence.
Kenny also said her staff ended up cleaning up the mess left behind by the revellers. TotT saw cans and bottles lying in the street and on the grass verge.
Police did respond to her call and TotT saw at least four police officers observing the scene.
When TotT asked the officers if they were going to intervene and make some arrests, a policeman who identified himself as Constable Nelson said it was his choice whether to do that or not.
TotT pointed out that police are obligated to uphold the law, in this case the provincial liquor law which prohibits drinking in public. The Eastern Cape Liquor Act, Section 59(1)e states: “No person may consume any liquor in any road, street, lane or thoroughfare, or on vacant land adjacent thereto, in an urban area or other area subdivided into erven or plots with streets bounded by such erven or plots.”
Nelson argued against this, insisting it was his choice.
TotT asked the Eastern Cape SAPS provincial communications office to respond. Captain Mali Govender said: “An internal investigation is underway to look into the allegations which are viewed in an extremely serious light.”