Trucks seized by cops with millions in stock, but SAB says it’s all a misunderstanding

One of the impounded SAB trucks. Picture: SAPS/Twitter

After the police announced they had impounded two truckloads’ worth of beer from SA Breweries on Wednesday morning, the company released a statement saying it needed to ‘clarify’ what was really going on.

Two truck drivers working for SAB were arrested and liquor worth an estimated R28 million was confiscated in Kagiso on Gauteng’s West Rand on Wednesday morning.

Police spokesperson Themba Maduna said the drivers had failed to produce the necessary documents when stopped by the SAPS.

“They were transporting liquor from one depot to – we are not sure – to another, but there was no relevant documentation to say we transport liquor from this place to other place. You have to have documentation and receipts. But due to the fact that the issues of liquor have not been tolerated, we need to stop them. That is why we are saying, ‘No, this is not right.’ They were not supposed to be transporting liquor at this time,” he was quoted as explaining by the SABC.

However, the company responded on Wednesday evening that it was now working on giving seven arrested employees and two third-party drivers professional legal representation to get their cases handled.

The company has apparently now shown government its permits and approvals after the arrests, and has explained that they were supposedly moving stock in a legal manner to an offsite storage facility because their storage capacity at “the breweries” had reached “permissable limits”.

“The alcohol seized was not for sale or distribution and was always in SAB’s possession.”

The company added that they had obtained permission to do the stock transport and “SAB continues to operate within the confines of the law”.

Last month, the EFF called on its branches and members to “visit” SAB facilities throughout South Africa to ensure they would be shut down during the 21-day lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19 infections.

The party said SAB was not providing an essential service and should therefore shut down completely in observance of the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The party further called on all employees throughout the company being “forced” to work during the lockdown to provide them with their companies’ details so that the EFF could “give them a Nice Special Visit”.

In a tweet, EFF leader Julius Malema said it was “greedy nonsense” that SAB was apparently making people work through the shutdown. He agreed with the view that alcohol should not be an “essential good” – even though it is the chief ingredient in hand sanitiser. The alcohol industry has agreed to produce pure alcohol for hand sanitiser, with SAB reportedly among those involved.

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