NATIONAL NEWS - The police arrested a bartender and confiscated alcohol after a pub owner in Moot, Pretoria, opened his doors for on-site alcohol consumption on Wednesday, 8 July.
Alcohol was allowed to be sold at specific times, for off-site consumption under lockdown Level 3. Experts warned that a spike in alcohol consumption could push the healthcare system into crisis and could fast-track the spread of Covid-19.
Twisters Pub’s Henk Hanekom is consulting with his attorneys as he opened for on-site alcohol consumption after legal guidance from his lawyers, he said.
Hanekom said he believed that since the lockdown regulations were found to be unconstitutional by the Gauteng High Court last month, he was entitled to reopen his business and allow on-site alcohol consumption following his announcement on the pub’s Facebook page.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was granted leave to appeal the high court judgment that ruled some of the lockdown regulations unconstitutional.
“We opened for business on Wednesday and people came to enjoy themselves. We did follow the Covid-19 restaurant health protocols such as screening people, sanitising, wearing masks, keeping social distancing between tables and limitation of persons per time.”
The pub owner said he decided to embark on the reopening after studying the judgment and consulting his lawyers, who drafted a letter on his behalf to the state prosecutor handling the case to alert them of his intention.
A letter which he also was to hand to the police on Thursday, 9 July morning.
Despite the legal appeals underway on the matter, which subsequently suspends the judgment, Hanekom believed he was not breaking the law until a different judgment would be handed down.
He wrote a letter through his lawyers informing the state prosecutor of his intentions that he would hang on the judgment.
“I believe I am not breaking the law. I have submitted the letter from lawyers, which says I am of that opinion that I am acting within the right legal frames until the judge can decide otherwise.
“Should the prosecutor find that we are breaking the law, they can alert me and I will close if it is found illegal. I also did try and submit the letter to the local police on Wednesday so they could tell me what I have done wrong, but the meeting was rescheduled for today [Thursday].”