Gauteng premier David Makhura says that the provincial government will look at stricter rules around the sale of alcohol, beyond those introduced during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The premier was speaking at an event on Saturday (20 February) where he presented 55 high-performance police vehicles which will be used to tackle crime in the province, the SABC reports.
Makhura said the illegal sale of alcohol is a major problem in the province.
“This year we are going to review all the regulations governing the sale of liquor because some of the outlets that are selling liquor in our communities are located just next to our schools, next to Early Childhood Development centres.
“So we want to regulate, tighten the regulations of the sale of alcohol, which is part of the longterm response to dealing with crime,” he said.
This follows similar comments made by president Cyril Ramaphosa in January, where he called for a review of the country’s regulations around alcohol as a means of combatting the high rates of crime and violence.
Speaking at the ANC’s 109th-anniversary celebrations on 8 January, Rampahosa said that government must be more direct in its efforts to reduce alcohol and substance abuse, which he said are major contributing factors in the perpetration of violence.
“The temporary restrictions that were placed on the availability of alcohol under the state of disaster regulations have demonstrated the extent to which abuse of alcohol fuels violence, trauma and reckless behaviour and places a burden on our health system and emergency services.
“We must take measures to reduce the abuse of alcohol through a combination of legislative and other measures and community mobilisation,” he said.
While this review was named as a key priority for the ANC government in 2021, this is is not the first time that government has considered introducing further legislation as a means of grappling with the country’s alcohol-related problems.
In 2016, it mooted the Liquor Amendment Bill – which has effectively been stuck in cabinet for the last four years. The draft bill proposes a number of wide-reaching changes including:
- Increasing the drinking age to 21 years;
- The introduction of a 100-metre radius limitation of trade around educational and religious institutions;
- Banning of any alcohol sales and advertising on social and small media;
- The introduction of new liability clause for alcohol-sellers.
Makhura’s comments come after the Western Cape provincial government said that it plans to introduce formal regulations to reduce alcohol abuse in the country.
Speaking in his state of the province address on Wednesday (17 February), Western Cape premier Alann Winde said that the economic damage caused by the national ban on alcohol sales during the Covid-19 lockdown was unsustainable.
However, he said that the provincial data showed that there are clear problems with alcohol abuse in the country.
“That is why we are instead pursuing more targeted interventions by amending the Western Cape Liquor Act. These amendments will directly and indirectly reduce alcohol harms, as well improve the efficiency of the Western Cape Liquor Authority,” he said.
Winde said that a series of these first amendments will be presented to a Regulatory Impact Assessment committee next week, and a formal submission to cabinet will happen by the end of next month.
“Our intention remains to have this amendment bill published for public comment in the next few months.
“In addressing this major problem in our communities, I am also committed to working with the industry and consumers to find new and innovative solutions to reduce alcohol-related harms in the Western Cape,” he said.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde says that the province plans to introduce further regulations around the sale of alcohol in an effort to curb abuse.