Pretoria: The National Gambling and Liquor Policy Council will continue to work towards the reduction of unlicensed liquor outlets.
The Council, which is constituted by Trade and Industry (dti) Minister Rob Davies and provincial MECs of Economic Development, met last week to discuss the number of liquor licences in the country, with the focus being on rooting out traders operating without licences.
“The Council appreciated the process of licencing that is used at present where each application will be approved only if it had a zoning consent from the relevant authority [municipal or tribal].
The council resolved that the drive at this point should be to minimise the number of unlicensed outlets and bring them into the mainstream and enforce compliance,” explained Davies.
The Council also adopted the Amended Strategy to Combat Alcohol Abuse. At a previous meeting, the strategy had been presented, with the emphasis that Liquor Regulators [at national and provincial level] should improve the areas of intervention and penalties that could be meted out to those that infringe their licence conditions.
The strategy is in line with requirements by government’s Programme of Action to combat substance abuse. It aims to combat alcohol abuse as well as put in place actionable measures at local, provincial and national level to combat alcohol abuse as well as to set priority areas for regulation of the liquor industry.
On the issue of amending National Norms and Standards, the Council approved the document for areas that are within the Liquor Act 59 of 2003 with amendments on the trading days that should recognise South Africa as a secular country, and that the focus should not be on Sunday as a religious day but rather focus on reducing the overall availability of liquor daily.
“The standardisation of trading hours was to be rephrases to accommodate the competencies of all spheres of government especially local government,” said the minister in a statement on Sunday.