Statement by Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, following the National Liquor and Gambling Policy Council
5 Aug 2012
The National Gambling and Liquor Policy Council met on Friday, 3 August 2012 in Kempton Park, to discuss issues affecting the two industries. The Council is constituted by Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and the provincial MECs of Economic Development.
Amended strategy to combat alcohol abuse
The Council has adopted the strategy as the National Strategy with the refinement on some phrases that needed to be amplified like dealing with littering and nuisance caused by loud music.
The Strategy had been presented in the previous meeting with the emphasis that the Liquor Regulators [national and provincial level] should enrich the areas of intervention and penalties that could be meted to those that infringe their licensing condition.
The amended strategy is in line with the requirements by the governments' Programme of Action to Combat Substance Abuse and the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan.
The aim of the strategy is to combat alcohol abuse and to put in place actionable measures at local, provincial and national level in order to combat alcohol abuse, and to set priority areas for regulation of the liquor industry so as to promote growth and foster responsible trading.
Amended national norms and standards
Documents on norms and standards were presented for both the Liquor and Gambling environment. In relation to liquor, the Council approved the document for areas that are within the Liquor Act 59 of 2003 with amendments on the trading days that should recognise South Africa as a secular country and the focus should not be on Sunday as a religious day but rather focus on decreasing the overall availability of liquor daily. The standardisation of trading hours was to be rephrases to accommodate the competencies of all spheres of government especially local government.
In relation to the gambling environment, the norms and standards were referred back to experts for further consolidation and are to be presented in the next Council meeting.
Partnership with the liquor industry
The Council deliberated on the issues of partnership with the liquor industry particular from the regulators perspective where they had set some condition for the industry to set aside funds to combat liquor abuse and report progress annually.
The Council resolved that the mandate of the regulators is different from other departments, though they are aware of the unintended consequence of entrenching brands or be perceived as endorsing the industry, while the policy is being reviewed, the engagement with the industry should be under the banner of the industry associations. The Council gave a directive for a guiding document on how to engage with the industry to be developed for approval.
The Council also deliberated on the area of dealing with the number of the liquor licenses in the country with the focus of reducing them. The Council appreciated the process of licensing that is used at present where each application will be approved only if it had a zoning consent from the relevant authority (municipal or tribal). The Council resolved that the drive at this point should be to minimise the number of unlicensed outlets and bring them into the mainstream and enforce compliance.
Sidwell Medupe, Departmental Spokesperson
Cell: 079 492 1774
Tel: 012 394 1650
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry
5 Aug 2012
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