Letter to the editor: Actionable strategy to combat alcohol abuse needed

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

Sir,

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the commitment from the newly appointment provincial police commissioner to address the widespread abuse of alcohol in the Northern Cape.

Lt-General Risimati Peter Shivuri and his team must introduce an actionable strategy to combat alcohol abuse. We need an implementable plan of action to curb the proliferation of illegal shebeens, to stop underage drinking and to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. We read too many stories on a Monday morning about crimes that were committed under the influence of alcohol.

To achieve the goal of a province that enjoys its liquor responsibly and legally, the relationship between the Northern Cape Liquor Board and SAPS must improve. The Liquor Board simply does not have the capacity to enforce compliance with the liquor regulations on its own.

Each liquor outlet must be visited between four and six times yearly to test its compliance with norms. The Liquor Board does not have the resources to meet this target.

In past sessions with the Legislature, the Liquor Board has indicated that their requests to SAPS for assistance with compliance operations often fall on deaf ears. Without funding, resources and much-needed assistance from SAPS, the Liquor Board acts like a rubberstamping entity and not a regulatory power.

For liquor regulation in the province to be effective, we need a properly capacitated Liquor Board that enjoys the full support of SAPS.