Long Street in Cape Town over the Heritage Day weekend (Credit: Tred Magill)
- Two popular Cape Town establishments could be in hot water after allegedly breaking lockdown regulations.
- Authorities say it’s not the first time the restaurant and nightclub have caught the police’s attention.
- Under Alert Level 2, the nationwide curfew kicked in at 23:00.
Cape Town police are investigating at least two clubs in the city centre for flouting Covid-19 curfew regulations and have confirmed that admission of guilt fines has been issued to the establishments “more than once”.
Long Street – the hub of the city’s nightlife – was abuzz with people and vehicles as revellers partied well past the Alert Level 2 curfew – 23:00 – with apparent impunity on Heritage Day last week.
The Ethiopian Restaurant, at 281 Long Street, was seen admitting patrons at 00:15 last Friday, where music continued to echo from deep within the building into the morning hours.
A young couple taking a break on the pavement outside confirmed they had been inside and then promptly disappeared back inside. Staff at the restaurant declined to comment or be named.
On Thursday, the restaurant was listed as “temporarily closed”.
A notice on the restaurant’s website read: “Dear our valued customers, we regret to inform you that we have closed our doors due to the Covid-19 situation, with a financial challenges we’re unable to continue. Thank you to everyone that has supported us for the past few years, we really appreciate it.”
Around the corner, outside The One club in Buiten Street, at 00:30 last Friday, a group of at least 10 young women stood outside, seemingly wondering where to go next. The club appeared to have just closed, but numerous people continued to mill around outside, with no sign of law enforcement anywhere.
A manager, who identified himself as “Ted”, insisted the club had closed at 22:00. He said, “patrons often hang around for a while after the club closes”.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed on Thursday that officers were aware of “illegal commercial activity, which occurred at the two mentioned establishments, and the circumstances are currently under investigation”.
Traut added that “admission of guilt fines in terms of the Disaster Management Act have been issued to these establishment more than once”.
He said police were liaising with the Western Cape Liquor Board “regarding the licences of establishments who disregard the curfew”.
The City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said that, on 10 September a joint enforcement operation was conducted by environmental health officials, metro police, provincial immigration services, police, emergency services and the City’s events department.
He said, “10 written instructions were served on premises (clubs, pubs/bars and restaurants) that did not meet the requirements set out by the national Disaster Management Act. The premises were overcrowded and patrons/staff failed to wear masks”.
He went on to confirm that three of the establishments had been closed down “due to overcrowding”.
Some clubbers appeared to be using the parking grounds at the St Martini Lutheran Church at the top of Long Street, where a man, known as “David”, was charging R100 for parking, and operating the gate to admit and release vehicles from the church grounds.
At 02:00, David was still seen stationed outside the gate to the church grounds, where a number of flashy vehicles remained parked.
Church general manager Miriam Höllings said the church did not “employ any security guards in our parking lot” and “were not aware their grounds were being used during curfew hours”.
She said the church had undertaken to “investigate the situation”.
On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country had been lowered to Alert Level 1, with the start of the curfew pushed back to midnight.