Meeting gets heated

2015-09-16 06:00
THE Northern Cape provincial commissioner, Peter Risimati Shivuri, issued a stern warning to the liquor traders to abide by the law.
Boipelo Mere

THE Northern Cape provincial commissioner, Peter Risimati Shivuri, issued a stern warning to the liquor traders to abide by the law. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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THE joint programme of the fifth Annual National Sobriety Awareness Week and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day held at the Social Centre last Wednesday (09/09), did not end on a positive note..

The programme, hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDaT), left the liquor traders unhappy at the end.

The programme was aimed at educating liquor traders and youth on the adverse effects of alcohol abuse and to raise awareness on the high-risk behaviour related to alcohol abuse, such as violence, risky sexual activities and the spread of HIV/Aids. It was also aimed at encouraging behavioural change by offering alternatives in the form of government programmes that are geared towards creating an enabling environment for youth to participate in mainstream society. The programme, which started at 10:00, was wrapped up at lunch-time instead of at the scheduled time of 16:00.

All stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of liquor legislation, as well as in the curbing of alcohol abuse, participated in the programme.

The legal alcohol traders felt it unfair that the meeting was adjourned before their concerns had been discussed, especially since some of them travelled from as far as Kuruman and surrounding areas.

The burning issue for them was the “operating hours” stated in the liquor trading proposals presented by the dti.

The legal liquor traders, most of whom have co-operated with the other stakeholders, complained they were being painted in the same way as illegal shebeens that did not take the by-laws into consideration.

They further complained that they have been sitting in meetings with the relevant stakeholders, including those to elect representatives, but nothing good came from it.

“We work with you in an effort to try and build our economy and we continue to engage in meetings with the same officials. We have made various proposals, as we had been advised to do through our chosen representatives, but that does not help with anything. We are disappointed that it is just one of those times when we wasted our time and left our businesses,” said Richard Madela, the owner of Bibi’s Tavern.

Leocardia Bodiba from Pampierstad also emphasised that they, as legal traders, would never risk their businesses by selling alcohol to under-aged children or selling booze to drunk people.This was after the Northern Cape provincial commissioner, Peter Risimati Shivuri, lashed out at them for not complying with the law and for being responsible for inebriating people who end up committing crime.

Shivuri said it was the role of the police - who were often labelled incompetent - to be visible and to provide safety for the citizens if the streets were swallowed up by taverns.

“We have to work together to make those same labelled police officers professional,” he said.

According to Prea Ramdhuny, the chief director of the National Liquor Authority at the dti, they chose to work with the Northern Cape Liquor Board (NCLB) because of the high incidence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

At the insistence of the liquor traders the CEO of the NCLB, Rudessa Stadhouer-Andrews, promised them a follow-up meeting. This will be confirmed on Wednesday (16/09). Ramdhuny said the liquor traders were invited to the programme because of the significant role they can play in reaching the target audience.

“They will be able to take the message to the target audience,” she explained.She said that although they have achieved their goal of discussing the sobriety issue with the liquor traders, more still needed to be done by all stakeholders involved in liquor trading

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