Pretoria restaurateur angry as police refuse to give back R112k of seized alcohol

CCTV footage from Hennie’s Moreleta Restaurant in Pretoria on Friday shows a manager pouring what he said was a non-alcoholic gin and tonic from a glass bottle.
Image: Supplied

A Pretoria-based restaurateur is livid that police have refused to release R112,000 worth of alcohol that was seized from his establishment last week.

TimesLIVE reported how police officers raided Hennie’s Moreleta Restaurant in Pretoria at the weekend, accusing his staff of serving alcohol before seizing his stock and detaining an employee for eight hours.

Owner of Hennie’s, Werner Pretorius, 36, said that while the state had opted not to enrol the matter against his general manager on Tuesday in court, police were dragging their feet in releasing the stock.

Despite numerous attempts, police had not responded to TimesLIVE’s requests for comment since Tuesday night.

Atrayo Nolte, 31, was arrested on Friday for contravention of the Disaster Management Act. He appeared in the Hatfield magistrate’s court on Tuesday, where the state declined to proceed with the matter due to a lack of evidence.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana confirmed the case was not enrolled.

“I said it before and I’ll say it again, it was all about the liquor,” Pretorius said on Thursday night. “They weren’t worried about whether we had the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols but they just wanted our alcohol stock. Now that we want it back they are finding every excuse not to return it.”

Pretoria restaurateur threatens to sue after police arrest employee who served nonalcoholic drinks

Pretorius’ attorney Alet Uys said police were in contravention of section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which relates to the disposal of articles where no criminal proceedings are instituted, or where it is not required for criminal proceedings.

“Since the release of the accused on Tuesday, the excuse was that the Garsfontein station needed to be furnished with the front page of the docket before releasing the stock. When I confronted the captain dealing with the matter on Thursday he said that they now needed the detective dealing with the matter ‘to make a call’ regarding the release of the stock,” she said.

Uys said they were formulating a civil claim against the police.

BY Orrin Singh

 

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