Status Update on Liquor Regulation in the Western Cape

Minister Alan Winde

Western Cape Minister for Finance, Economic Development & Tourism

The Quarterly Western Cape Provincial Liquor Conference was held today in Cape Town.

The Liquor Conference brings together stakeholders from Provincial and Local Government, civil society, the liquor industry and the public to discuss issues and shared concerns relating to the liquor industry.

This quarter’s conference dealt with issues relating to the promulgation of the Western Cape Liquor Act on 1 April, the progress of municipalities regarding zoning and trading hours and days as well as the removal of 5 litre alcohol products from the retail market.

Solly Fourie, Head of Department for the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism opened the conference and said that his department is committed to working with the industry to streamline liquor issues: “the Liquor Board call centre took 789 calls in March 2012, with a first time call resolution rate of 76.35 per cent.”

Delivering the keynote address, Minister Winde said: “Since we last met in December 2011, a number of key developments have taken place. We have promulgated the entire suite of legislation associated with the Western Cape Liquor Act. The Act is now in effect and will deal with the scourge of unlicensed liquor outlets trading in our residential areas. I have also appointed the Western Cape Liquor Authority Board to oversee the Act’s implementation and am in the process of appointing the Appeals Tribunal.”

“The statistics speak for themselves, according to the 2010/11 crime statistics in South Africa, nationally; half of patients who die in transport-related incidents have elevated blood alcohol content. Of these cases, 90 per cent had blood alcohol levels above 0.05 g/100 ml. 44 per cent of all deaths are homicides. Half of these are alcohol related. Of this half, 89 per cent had blood alcohol levels above 0.05 g/100 ml. 43 per cent of firearm-related deaths were alcohol related. 77 per cent of all deaths caused by sharp objects involved positive alcohol levels. 54 per cent of assaults with a blunt instrument, 26 per cent of strangulations and 45 per cent of burns involved positive alcohol levels. On weekends, our hospitals are dealing with a situation that reminds me of a warzone. It is time government steps in and in collaboration with communities, fix this problem.” Minister Winde added.

Minsiter Winde said: “We cannot shut down all 25 000 unlicensed liquor outlets in our Province. We need to move to a place where they are licensed and operate responsibly. Where legal outlets do not operate responsibly, we will shut them down. According to research commissioned by the Western Cape Liquor Board in 2009, approximately 8 500 of these operations are sufficiently well developed to fall within the regulatory framework. To bring unlicensed liquor outlets within the ambit of the law, we aim to implement the High Street Model. These are designated streets within communities where commercial zones will be established. In these commercial zones liquor traders will be able to operate with other businesses and do so with the correct zoning and licensing. With the help of the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrade (VPUU) we have identified seven areas in the Western Cape to roll-out the High Street Model pilot project. The areas are: Nyanga, Harare, Delft, Mfuleni, Philippi, Gugulethu and TR section in Khayelitsha.”

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