Tuesday, 08 December 2020

Springbok: Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Nomalungelo Gina has made a clarion call to liquor traders to adhere to COVID-19 regulations in order to arrest the second wave of the pandemic.

Gina made the call during the launch of the national annual anti-alcohol abuse campaign held in Springbok, Northern Cape, on Monday.

Held under the theme “Combating Alcohol Abuse is Everybody’s Business”, the campaign aims to educate and create awareness amongst the country’s citizens about the adverse effects of alcohol and substance abuse, particularly during the festive season.

Gina, who is also the Champion of the District Development Model for the Namakwa District Municipality, said one of the key messages of the campaign is that a second wave of COVID-19 was becoming a reality in South Africa.

“No province or district can claim to be immune from the escalation of the virus. Alcohol selling places such as clubs, pubs and shebeens have been cited as the new super-spreaders of the virus, followed by funerals and the after-tears parties.

“We are making a national call to liquor trading places that they must adhere to COVID-19 regulations. They must make sure that they provide sanitisers at points of entry for all patrons and ensure the wearing of masks, and social distancing.  Owners of these liquor joints must obey the evening curfew and must not undermine the closing time,” Gina said.

The Deputy Minister also appealed to liquor traders to do their part in helping government in the fight against the pandemic, by contributing positively in minimising infections and deaths.

She warned liquor traders that failure to comply with the country’s COVID-19 regulations would result in their liquor licences being withdrawn by government.

She further called on all South Africans to refrain from glorifying alcohol, noting that whilst alcohol is one of the main contributors to the economy, there is a need for society in general, government in particular to point out and deal with the impact of alcohol abuse.

“Alcohol abuse has negative effects on families especially the breadwinners, the youth within the families and the communities in general. These negative effects also affect the economy through the drop of productivity.

“A winning nation with the prospects of a rising economy cannot achieve maximum progress with a society which has high levels of alcohol abuse. We are a drinking nation and therefore have an alcohol problem as a country. South Africa ranks amongst the leading countries in the world for heavy drinking levels,” Gina said.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that South Africa experienced high rates of fatal accidents during the festive season and that alcohol is a common denominator in many of the accidents, as well as in many violent incidents throughout the country.

It is against this background that the department is undertaking a campaign to create awareness amongst members of society to drink responsibly.

Northern Cape MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development Mase Manopole, who was also part of the launch, said that the campaign could not have come at a more opportune time, as the country is rolling out the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

After the launch, Gina and Manopole led an inspection around Springbok, where liquor inspectors from the Northern Cape Liquor Board found that three of the five liquor outlets visited did not comply with their liquor licence conditions.

Two of the liquor outlets were ordered to close immediately.