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By Citizen Reporter


National Liquor Traders warns against dangers of drinking illicit alcohol

The organisation said people must be cautious of drinking alcoholic products with suspicious packaging

The National Liquor Traders Association has warned against the consumption of illicit alcohol, after traces of methanol were found in the blood samples of the Enyobeni tavern victims.

This following the mysterious deaths of 21 youngsters last month at the Eastern Cape tavern.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Eastern Cape health department deputy director general for clinical services Litha Matiwane said the results are qualitative and can’t yet be used to verify the exact cause of the deaths.

Methanol is a toxic form of alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide or an alternative source of fuel. This lethal substance is often used in the production of illicit alcohol.

The National Liquor Traders Association said this points to the dangers of consuming products that have not been purchased from a recognised supplier.

The organisation’s convenor Lucky Ntimane said people must be cautious of drinking any alcoholic products with suspicious packaging or that has been opened prior to consumption.

“We also call on liquor traders to buy their products only from recognised official suppliers so that we  eliminate the risk of illicit alcohol making its way into the hands of consumers,” said Ntimane.

Ntimane said research conducted by Euromonitor in 2020, following the alcohol ban during the Covid-19 lockdown, revealed that illicit alcohol trade accounts for 12% of South Africa’s alcohol market.

He said the illicit alcohol trade is now worth about R20.5 billion.

Ntimane stated that the volume of the illicit alcohol trade has doubled over the past eight years, which also affects the price of legal products.

He said the always available illegal alternatives drive consumption of poor-quality alcohol products,  contributing to higher rates of heavy drinking and posing serious health risks to the public.

ALSO READ: Enyobeni tavern tragedy: Methanol and carbon monoxide found in victims’ blood

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