South Africa, Pretoria – South Africans need to recognise that they have a bad relationship with alcohol and take the initiative to improve the relationship to yield only positive consequences.
Chief executive of the Gauteng Liquor Board Raymond Martin made these remarks when he was representing the Gauteng Department of Economic Development at a seminar with liquor traders in Kameeldrift.
Martin was speaking during the summit of tavern owners to promote responsible drinking and responsible consumption ahead of the festive season that has proven to expose a lot of alcohol-related challenges.
Martin said the event was a partnership between the Department of Economic Development, the Gauteng Liquor Board, and global leading spirit producer Diageo South Africa.
The liquor board said with President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a relaxation of alcohol trading rules last week, the alcohol industry is focusing its energy on ensuring that liquor outlets trade in a responsible manner and support the national efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The audience were told that in addition to complying with the regulations under the Liquor Act, they needed to also adhere to Covid-19 level one regulations, including observing the curfews, limiting the number of patrons to 50% capacity of the outlet, social distancing and wearing of masks.
Martin said the alcohol board was working with the police travelling around and shutting down traders who were contravening their trading licences, defying lockdown regulations and giving everyone a bad reputation.
He said: “As liquor traders we have called you here to challenge you to take up your rightful place in your communities and I’m saying it also because as liquor traders you are business people and leaders of the businesses you are running.”
“These sessions should not be about ticking boxes of targets met, we want action from all of you. When you go back to your communities there must be impact. We want you to go back and implement something in your communities.”
President of the Concerned Tshwane Liquor Traders Association Oupa Mthombeni endorsed the initiative and said it was important for liquor traders as business people and an industry to play a leading role in combating alcohol abuse and alcohol related problems.