On 22 January, Atrayo Nolte, 31, of Hennie’s restaurant, was arrested by three police officers who alleged that the restaurant was serving alcohol under his watch.
This was during lockdown level 3 regulations that banned the sale of alcohol.
Legal representative for the restaurant Alet Uys said the restaurant had been selling non-alcoholic beverages.
“Three people sitting at a table at Hennie’s on Friday and one person, ordered a non-alcoholic gin and tonic,” she said.
“Three police men entered directly after. All three refused to sign-in at the Covid-19 registry or have their temperatures measured. They said they were from the Pretoria CBD branch.”
Uys said the policemen then ordered gin and tonic and were served with the same non-alcoholic drink.
She said the manager explained that it was zero-alcohol, also indicated on the bottle and also gave them a sample to test.
“The police officers refused to hear reason. They insisted on seizing all alcohol stock at Hennie’s, demanded that the room where stock was stored be unlocked and almost R112,000 worth of alcohol was seized,” Uys said.
“The client is hoping for retribution. Mr Nolte and Hennie’s Restaurant have been treated poorly and the basis of the arrest is, in our opinion, clearly unlawful.
“The consequential confiscation of all their stock is also unlawful.”
Uys said when Nolte appeared in court, they were informed the state did not wish to proceed but no reasons were furnished.
She said the matter was not enrolled and then formally withdrawn on record.
Despite the state choosing not to proceed with the matter, Uys said the police had not released the confiscated liquor stock.
“The police allege they are entitled to keep possession of the stock pending their internal processes,” she said.
“The client therefore, has the required legal grounds to sue the minister of police for damages for unlawful arrest,” she said.
“The charge is the contravention of the disaster management act and/or regulations to such act.”
Uys said the allegation against Nolte and the reason for his arrest were completely baseless and untrue.
“We will be forced to bring a mandament van spolie (spoliation) court application to restore possession of the seized stock,” she said.
“We will start this process shortly if the stock is not released soon.”
She said a letter of demand was sent to the SAPS on 29 January.
She said the firm had heard of at least three incidents similar to this one in Gauteng in the last few months. In 2020, Padstal ended going to court to obtain back possession of their stock.
The amount of retribution would be determined soon as Alet Uys Attorney’s would among others consider similar cases and the amount claimed in such cases.
Police minister spokesperson Lirandzu Temba said the minister’s office had not received any papers served.
This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.