Ban on selling booze near schools, churches hailed

2013-09-02 00:00

THE outlawing of the sale of alcohol by liquor outlets near schools and churches in KwaZulu-Natal has been welcomed by the provincial Education Department and an association of school governing bodies.

This comes after the KZN Legislature passed amendments to the provincial Liquor Licensing Amendment Bill last Thursday.

Under the amendments, liquor outlets operating within a 500-metre radius from public amenities such as schools and churches face the prospect of being relocated or forced to change their trading hours.

KZN chairperson of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Reginald Chiliza, said they welcomed the legislation, which sought to protect children from social ills.

“We applaud that piece of legislation. It really concerns us as parents to have taverns near schools.”

Speaking during a debate in the legislature, Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said no new liquor licences would be issued to new traders who operated within 500 metres of a school or church.

However, those that were already operating would have their licences reviewed.

Mabuyakhulu said his department has started a process to audit all liquor outlets. “We will look at each of them and take a decision on their particular circumstances,” said the MEC.

The outlets face a possibility of not trading during school time or being given time to relocate their businesses, Mabuyakhulu said.

He said his department has embarked on an awareness campaign to educate pupils about the dangers of alcohol.

The amendments were effected to ensure that the provincial law was in line with the National Liquor Act after concerns were raised by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies about exclusion of micro-manufacturing, retail, sale and on-consumption of methylated spirits.

Although it was previously reported that the bill provided for sale of alcohol on Sundays, it enables the MEC to make regulations on trading hours for outlets engaged in the retail and sale of methylated spirits.

The IFP said the new provisions in the legislation should be enforced, while the ACDP called for the review of the sale of alcohol on Sunday. The party said this is because there was correlation between extended trading hours and social ills.

But Mabuyakhulu dismissed the assertion of a correlation between extended trading hours and social ills, saying people instead bought alcohol in large quantities before Sundays.


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