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VIDEO: Liquor trading regulations tighten

JOBURG – Liquor trading will be regulated stricter in suburban areas.

The Liquor Act is putting liquor outlets near educational institutions and places of worship under scrutiny.

The Liquor Board may grant or deny an operating liquor licence to those applying to trade within a 500m radius of places of worship and educational institutions or another liquor outlet.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Lebogang Maile confirmed that there have been several reports of outlets serving children in school uniforms,.

“There are [reports] that children attend classes intoxicated and other pupils leave school premises during learning hours to purchase alcohol,” Maile said.

He added there are 12 000 illegal liquor trades in Gauteng alone.

The MEC further added,”The Department will strengthen the regulations of the liquor trading to be as strict in suburban areas as they plan to be in townships.”

In addition, the hours of trading for those liquor outlets will be closely inspected.This follows Gauteng’s proposed ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

However, in the cases of schools and churches that emerge after long established liquor traders, there would be negotiations involving all those concerned such as school governing bodies and other community members.

Last year, members of the Northern Taxi Liaison Committee, based at the Randburg Taxi Rank, were fed-up with high school children being drunk after school.

Committee member Jacob Ngoma also confirmed that under-age drinking and other crimes are becoming harder to control.

A student from a local school said that strengthening trading regulations will help restore respect.

“Other students drink and smoke cigarettes, and it has even been alleged that they take drugs after school,” said the student who wished to remain anonymous.

Weltevreden Park Chapel’s Pastor Douglas Forsyth also complained about the liquor store that is less than 500m radius from the church.

“I am deeply alarmed by the liquor store across us, we are not happy with it and we have been fighting this for so many years,” said Pastor Forsyth, adding that they first built their church in 1983. He also stated,” I am also a marriage counsellor, and one of the factors that I find is that alcohol affects a lot of couples. And I have been trying to contact the Liquor Board but they never respond.

Meanwhile, Ward 87 Councillor Amanda Forsythe said she is still in the process of collecting information from her own area.

“We have achieved great results, with five illegal operating establishments prosecuted and one licence [revoked] in the last few months,” said Pastor Forsythe.

Spokesperson for Economic Development Phindile Kunene said their main aim is to make sure that everyone who is trading has a licence.

“We aim to be stricter and apply the law and also limit the negative impact of liquor operating in residential areas.”

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