Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism hold liquor conference to create awareness on responsible liquor management.
31 Jul 2009
Friday, 31 July 2009 was another milestone for the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) together with the Department of Safety and Security in their endeavour to create awareness and dialogue through the annual provincial Liquor Conference held in Honeymoon Lodge, Seshego.
The provincial Liquor Conference, which had delegates from six provinces, South African Breweries (SAB) representatives, Limpopo school governing body (SGB) representatives, policing forums, youth leaders, traditional leaders, South African Council of Churches representatives, also included members of the National Liquor Regulators Forum (NLRF) whose mandate from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to promote liquor management and ensure that communities are aware of the negative impact of alcohol.
The main aim of the conference according to the Senior Manager for Corporate Governance in the department, Mr Simon Mbedzi was to determine the roles of each stakeholder and explore the different ways that each role player can play in regulating the liquor trade. When explaining the purpose of the conference, LEDET Head of Department (HOD) Mr Martin Sehlapelo said, “The main idea for this conference is to share information on responsible liquor use and also involve communities in sharing advice on liquor license issuing.”
HOD Sehlapelo also explained the role that communities and the police play in society. “This conference's aim is to ensure that all of us share ideas and to let everyone know that the abuse of alcohol is everybody's business.” Ms Keiteng Mothemela representing the NLRF concurred with HOD Sehlapelo in her presentation by saying that the National Liquor Authority (NLA), South African Police Service (SAPS) and provincial liquor boards must all work together in community education awareness programmes and activities to inform the communities about the dangers of drinking especially in pregnancy.
“Empowering the communities and civic organisations will go a long way and contribute to a positive socio-economic environment,” added Ms Mothemela. During the conference, the Limpopo Provincial Liquor Association was of the view that when government forms structures in communities such as those of safety, health and education, liquor traders must be part of those activities to ensure unity and compliance.
MEC Pitsi Moloto in his keynote address at the conference said that the democratic foundation of South Africa in general and the province in particular is dependant on one critical issue which is active stakeholder engagement to ensure future success. He acknowledged that critical stakeholders of the liquor industry have managed to engage one another but need to move beyond pointing fingers. “We need to start asking how we can make a difference by working together to create a culture of partnership,” MEC Moloto said.
“We have to learn to think and plan together and we must also respect one another,” said the MEC. In addressing these issues, people need to also change their mindsets. Those in leadership positions should take ownership of leadership because leadership is about making a difference in society. MEC Moloto in conclusion assured guests that he would take the issues raised at the conference further especially those relating to liquor licensing.
After the conference the two departments were joined by the NLA, Provincial Liquor Boards, the national and provincial liquor compliance offices, SAPS, road traffic officials in an inspection blitz that took place in Polokwane, Seshego and Moletjie.
During the blitz, nine national and 37 provincial premises were inspected. In total 479 vehicles were stopped and searched. Fines amounting to R42 000 were issued while the number of arrests on liquor related offences were 20. Two compliance notices were issued while 286 07 litres of liquor were confiscated. Five people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol while traffic related offences' fines amounted to R11 600.
According to the Senior Manager for Corporate Governance Mr Simon Mbedzi, there will be a programme rollout to enhance the relationship between the departments of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism and Safety and Security. Mr Mbedzi said that both departments are to continue working together to ensure compliance in the liquor trade. “On 3 September 2009, MEC Pitsi Moloto and MEC Dikeledi Magadzi will meet with the provincial liquor board, liquor trade inspectors and police officers in a sign of co-operation and partnership, Mr Mbedzi said.
Issued by: Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Limpopo Provincial Government
31 July 2009
Source: Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Limpopo Provincial Government (http://www.ledet.gov.za/)
Issued by: Limpopo Provincial Government
31 Jul 2009
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