Liquor Bill: Rob Davies extends consultation period – Dean Macpherson

DA MPL says there are countless jobs at risks if the current amendments are enacted unchanged

Liquor Bill: Minister Davies accedes to DA request for extended public comment period

Department of Trade and Industry Minister (DTI), Rob Davies, has acceded to the DA’s request to extend the deadline for public submissions on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill (DLAB). The deadline has now been extended until 30 November 2016.

We urge members of the public to urgently submit their views to this bill by way of a letter to the DTI: the dti, Private Bag X84, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0001

While we welcome Minister Davies’ extension, the DA had requested a full 30 day extension and the therefore feel that extra two weeks now agreed to by the Minister may be insufficient to allow for proper public objection to this ill-conceived bill.

Not only are there countless jobs at risk if the amendments to the DLAB are enacted but it also threatens to worsen the negative social effects caused by the abuse of alcohol.

There are several problematic provisions in the Bill, chief among them being the following:

Constitutional concerns: The Bill proposes that no new licenses be issued within 500 meters of “schools, place of worship (sic), recreational facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas, public institutions and other like amenities.” Such a provision would have profound unintended consequences. In Metropolitan areas, one would struggle to find any location that does not contravene this provision.

Lack of law enforcement: The draft Bill does not explicitly empower all Peace Officers to enforce alcohol-related legislation, which would ease the burden on law enforcement agencies and help to enable the better enforcement of existing legislation. Currently, local and provincial authorities bear a disproportionate burden with respect to the health care costs of alcohol abuse, and the traffic enforcement costs of over-the-limit drivers. So while they carry the heaviest burden, they are often hamstrung in their enforcement efforts.

Age Limits: Raising the age limit to 21 years old is ill-considered in that (a) it will not prove to be an effective deterrent and (b) it will only increase the size and scope of the illicit trade in liquor by driving it underground. It will also criminalise what is normal and acceptable behaviour, while those who abuse alcohol will continue to do so.

The DA will not stop fighting Minister Davies on what is a detrimental bill to the lifeblood of the alcohol industry which is a significant employer of South Africans. We will take all necessary parliamentary action to ensure that South Africans do not suffer the unintended consequences of a negligently drafted bill.

Statement issued by Dean Macpherson MP - DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, 11 November 2016