NEWS & ANALYSIS

Alcohol is a burden to society – ANC W Cape

Party says MEC Schafer is misguided in wanting to change 'restrictive legislations' regarding alcohol on school premises

ANC reminds MEC Schafer that Alcohol is a burden to society

19 October 2016

MEC Debbie Schäfer's misguided proposal to Amend Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997, to address what she refers to as an extremely restrictive legislation regarding alcohol on school premises is not only misguided but it is dangerous.

As the ANC and its government, we must state it outright that as a responsible government, we are neither impressed nor moved by any school principal who feels restricted in either entertaining his fellow educators through alcohol or having fundraising activities involving alcohol. These are all false choices.

For DA's MEC Schafer to use such misguided calls from her principal friends as a call to amend Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997 is both irresponsible and a regrettable ceding of governing responsibilities. Schafer needs to be reminded of the hard facts on the devastating effects of alcohol. 

Here are the hard facts. It is estimated that one third of current alcohol drinkers in the Western Cape are drinking at risky levels. Over 50% of cases involving death due to homicide or traffic collision featured alcohol. And a quarter of deaths resulting from suicides or accidents featured alcohol. 

Research concluded a few years ago on 3000 grade 08 to 11 students at Cape Town schools found a statistical relationship between having parents who drink alcohol and repeating at school. Only a few years ago about 10% of 992 children screened during their first year in school in Wellington outside Cape Town were diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome FAS. Research done by Medical Research council found that between 67% and 76% of domestic violence cases were alcohol related. 

We have to emphasize to Schafer that the point is to push alcohol access further and further away from our communal spaces. Bringing them into our classrooms is a huge betrayal to all the efforts National Government and surprisingly Provincial Government has been putting in trying to lower the consumption of alcohol over the last few years.

The National Liquor Act already states it clearly that Liquor premises should be located at least 500m away from schools, places of worship, recreation, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas and public institutions. Again here the effort is to keep alcohol as far away from our societies but particularly on spaces considered sacrosanct. 

Issued by Faiez Jacobs, Provincial Secretary, ANC Western Cape, 19 October 2016