Home South African Selling illegal booze to pay the bills during lockdown

Selling illegal booze to pay the bills during lockdown


Woman tells how retrenchment has forced her to sell illegal booze to pay the bills.

Beer is hard to come by. File image.

CANDICE Smith* turned to selling alcohol during the lockdown after she was retrenched from her job in the entertainment industry.

“When the alcohol ban came into place, I knew there was an opportunity for me to earn some money. After losing my job, I had to hustle to pay bills.”

While she is worried about the risk that comes with selling alcohol illegally, she says that she’s had no other option but to turn to the illicit alcohol market as a way to pay the bills.

Smith, who sells alcohol from her home in a suburb in Joburg, says she’s been relatively busy since she first started selling.

“It pretty much comes in waves depending on the suppliers. Eventually, it will all run out. People’s priorities have also changed. So to some, keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table is more important than spending ludicrous amounts on alcohol.”

Smith says her prices for various alcoholic beverages and spirits all depend on how much she pays her suppliers.

“One week it could be one price and the next week it’s been hiked up, after you’ve already told a client a specific price. Mainly, I have stuck to selling to those close to me at cost price. But for others I don’t know and who are by no means struggling, I will make a decent mark-up.”

Smith sells a wide variety of alcohol, however, she says beer has been hard to come by.

“Beer is super hard to come by. Wine is in the middle, but hard spirits like whiskey, gin, vodka and brandy have been relatively easy to come by.”

Smith believes the ban on alcohol is outrageous.

“The government has successfully turned us into fearful slaves by crippling the economy, giving us a curfew and violating our human rights.

“I understand that alcohol makes certain people violent and floods our hospitals, but maybe if we had an honourable government and police force these things could be controlled, like the rest of the world.

“They are playing ‘play-play’ First World country, when now more than ever it is abundantly clear that we are a corrupt, Third World country run by scumbags benefiting off the devastation of its people.”

Not her real name