The infamous Pool Hall Pub in Woodstock has seen its last eight ball dropping after being officially shut down by Woodstock police last week.
After making various arrests for drug possession, receiving a number of complaints for unruly behaviour and even experiencing a murder earlier this year, it was the last straw for Woodstock police.
Residents and businesses surrounding the infamous pub were delighted to be greeted with closed doors, after news surfaced that the owners had 30 days to remove all liquor from their premises.
Fadwah Daniels from Woodstock has reported several incidents in the past to police regarding illicit activities outside the Pool Hall Pub in the past and said it is a “massive relief to see the place shut down”.
“All this place was contributing towards our community were problems. There was nothing positive about this place and it’s (about) time they (police) acted and shut the place down,” she said.
She hoped the shutdown of the Pool Hall Pub would act as a stern warning to other establishments treading a fine line in Woodstock.
“Places that add no value to our area must go. Woodstock has recently started moving up, with some very nice businesses opening and our area looks a lot more lively, but in between you find these businesses only giving us grief and bringing crime to our community,” Ms Daniels said.
“With the Pool Hall shut down, it’s now time police start warning these other establishments that think they can get away.”
Jonathan Carstens, who didn’t want his business identified, said he hoped that the closure of the Pool Hall Pub would do wonders for surrounding businesses, claiming that the existence of the establishment made people fear coming to that particular space.
“There were always these dodgy guys hanging outside the pub and I have personally seen some of these shady characters either fighting or robbing the people as they pass by. This made people very wary of coming to the area and that impacted our businesses,” he said.
He wished to make it clear that he did not have any issues with people running clubs or pubs, but wished they stayed within the confines of the law. “There are many pubs and clubs running extremely well in this area. There are owners who only focus on the money and not how their businesses can positively impact a space or area. This pub (Pool Hall Pub) just seemed as if they did not care what happens outside their business, not to mention inside,” Mr Carstens added.
“They are gone now and all eyes will be on who occupies this space next.”
Spokesperson for Woodstock police, Sergeant Hilton Malila, confirmed that the establishment had become a major problem for the station and surrounding businesses, forcing police to act. He said police officers had made various arrests for the possession of drugs and dealing in drugs on the premises in the past, also receiving various complaints from surrounding businesses about constant fighting’s and drinking in public.
“During July this year, a murder happened just outside the pub, where the deceased ran inside the premises, and was subsequently carried outside the premises by security personnel after he passed away,” Sergeant Malila said.
According to Woodstock police, during the first week of September, police members and inspectors at the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) visited the premises, during compliance inspections, resulting in the arrest of a 26-year-old woman for being in possession of 36 packets of tik and dagga.
“We started the process of reporting all the latest incidents to the WCLA and requested them for an urgent application to close down the premises. During a liquor tribunal hearing on Thursday October 20, at the WCLA, the outcome revealed that both the owner and the manager were declared unfit to possess a liquor license and the existing license on the premises was revoked with immediate effect,” Sergeant Malila added.
Chairperson for the Woodstock Community Police Forum, Moosa Sydow, applauded the efforts of all role-players involved in shutting down, what he referred to as a “sleeze-ball joint”.
He also applauded the efforts of the community, urging them to continue recording businesses found to be transgressing in order for police to act and bring down the hammer. “The shutdown of this pub was quite exciting. It makes it easier to identify and act on spots causing problems when we receive information from the public or community, as it helps us build a strong case against these types of establishments,” Mr Sydown said.
He added that the CPF and police were aware of other problematic liquor outlets, drug houses and receivers of stolen goods in the area. To them, Mr Sydow sent out a stern warning: “You will be targeted. We will hit them hard. They will be listed as bad for business and we will nail them.”
Mr Sydow urged the community to join forces with security role-players in order to address the problem. “These people (complainants) shall remain anonymous and we need to start building solid cases against whatever establishment it is causing problems in our community, but we cannot do it alone, we need the help of our community,” he said.
“This shutdown is part of an ongoing project. We will use the system to turn whatever complaints into hardcore facts and we will come down hard on the transgressors.”
The WCLA confirmed that the licence holder was found guilty of contravening various sections of the Liquor Act, resulting in the licence being revoked with immediate effect. According to the WCLA, as a result of the investigation, the licence holder were found “unfit to possess a liquor licence”.
Woodstock police station commander, Colonel Duma Ntsezo, applauded the outcome of the hearing and said: “This outcome must be a deterrent for other liquor licence premises. A zero tolerance approach at liquor premises will be adopted throughout the festive season.”
The owner of the Pool Hall Club, declined to speak to the Tatler.