Cape Town to review booze law

2011-01-12 14:20

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has commissioned a legal review of its new liquor by-law before any amendments are gazetted.

"Except for a few minor technical adjustments, we don't foresee any major changes to the by-law," the city's speaker Dirk Smit said on Wednesday.

"Cape Town has the highest formal incidence of alcohol and drug abuse of any city in South Africa and the new by-law constitutes part of the City's strategy to address the scourge of alcohol abuse.

The city said international research had shown that the reduction of alcohol trading hours has had a positive impact on alcohol abuse.

Cutting back on trading hours

"A study in Diadema near Sao Paolo in Brazil, found that a new law mandating on-premise consumption outlets to close at 23:00 had the effect of reducing murders by 106 per year, or 30 per 100 000 population.

"Prior to the new law, most bars traded 24 hours a day.

"Studies in Australia and in South Africa have also shown positive effects resulting from cutting back on hours of alcohol sales.

"In Tennant Creek in the Australian outback, an aboriginal community group successfully mounted a campaign to close off-premise consumption outlets on the days pay-cheques arrived and to limit bars on Thursdays and Fridays to opening only after 12:00."

The city said off-premise consumption sales were limited to between 12:00 and 21:00 on other days.

Drop in crime figure

Alcohol-related admissions dropped by 34% and admissions to a women's shelter dropped by almost half.

In Siyahlala, an informal settlement of around 1 300 dwellings in Nyanga, which had the highest murder rate in South Africa in 2006/7, a broad-based community initiative was implemented between May 2006 and June 2007.

Over this period, crime figures plummeted from between five and eight murders a month to zero, and between 30 and 38 assault cases a month to between ten and 17. One of the interventions involved getting shebeens to close by 21:00.

"We want to make absolutely sure that every aspect of the by-law passes legal muster before it is formally gazetted," said Smit.

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