Proposed alcohol laws, repetition of old ones

There is fear among liquor traders and other stakeholders that the recent published Norms and Standards by the Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI) to regulate the consumption and the sale of liquor is nothing but the repetition of old apartheid laws that won’t have an impact to transform the industry.

This emerged during a discussion panel hosted by the Soul City Institute where all interested parties where invited to share their views.

“Previously there was only one liquor act of 1989, now each and every province has its own liquor act and the Norms and Standards. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do, we just have to read through them so that we can police them,” said Brigadier Elias Mahlabane from the South African Police Service looking somewhat frustrated.

In defence of Norms and Standards, Prea Ramdhumy from DTI said more dialogues and discussion are coming during the implementation phase where lot of issues will be dealt with and Norms and Standards seek to enhance the existing liquor legislations.

“By coming with Norms and Standards to regulate liquor, the government can only do so much, at the end of the day all parties need to play their part to ensure compliance,” she said.

Other issues that were raised that form part of the Norms and Standard includes: different operating hours on certain days between townships and suburbs, no selling of liquor to already intoxicated patrons and that traders must at times take into consideration the safety and health of their patrons when selling liquor.

“The problem is that everything relating to social ills in the community is blamed on liquor Forgetting the most important factor that liquor traders are in business and this is the source of their livelihood. We want laws that will truly transform the industry and economically emancipate the black traders,” said Cedrick Chauke from the Gauteng Liquor Forum and Responsible African Food and Beverages Association (RAFBEA).

“If all of us can work together, law enforcers, traders and the community, I don’t see why we should have any problems. We need a collective consciousness,” concludes Lebo Ramafoko, Chief Executive of Soul City Institute.

Original article by Ramatamo Wa Matamong

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