Pretoria’s Legends nightclub and the police have issued statements on the weekend raid on the club by over 100 police from Organised Crime, Crime Intelligence, National Intervention and the Dog Unit. The two hour long raid took partygoers by surprise and disrupted Legend’s first birthday celebration.
According to police spokesperson, Superintendent Sebola, as a result of the raid, three men for arrested for drug possession. In addition, 17 grams of cat, three ‘snatches’ of cocaine, 39 tables of ephedrine, an undisclosed amount of dagga, 205 ecstasy tablets, and several ‘sniffing pipes’, to the value of R66 000, were confiscated in the bust. The club was also issued with a warning with regard to drug sales on the premises.
Sebola denied that the police were in any way targeting gay clubs, and said that the incident was a normal operation which was driven by intelligence reports that drugs were being sold on the premises by dealers. “We’re not looking at “gay clubs specifically, but any places where drugs continue to be sold,” he said.
Legends owner, Fulvio De Stefanis, affirmed that the club is against the use or sale of illegal substances in the venue. He added that he understands that the raid, which he described as largely “incident-free”, is part of the police’s work and fight against illegal activities. He further thanked the partygoers for their patience and co-operation with the police throughout the event. “Having read in the media about other raids at other establishments that have apparently involved violence and harassment of the patrons, we’re happy with the fact that this was not the case at Legends”, he said.
He also expressed appreciation that the police allowed the club and patrons to continue with the party after the raid ended at about 2am. While some clubgoers went home, most chose to continue with the celebration.
Another reported raid, this time on Joburg’s Heartlands early Friday morning was dismissed by the club’s management as an isolated incident that did not involve any patrons. “We were already closed, but the police entered the venue and demanded proof that had not sold alcohol outside our license hours”, said Heartlands operations manager Bruce Walker. The officers were apparently heavy-handed, according to Walker, who added that he was dealing with the matter directly with the authorities.
On a lighter note, De Stefanis said that, “because it’s the silly season, and our party was interrupted for two hours, we’ve decided to have another birthday celebration this Saturday at Legends, and it’ll be free entry the whole night”.