Residents object to a liquor licence

Community groups and residents in Salt River and Woodstock say they will not allow the sale of alcohol at a petrol station in the neighbourhood.

The Salt River Civic Association and the Woodstock Residents’ Association are calling on residents to sign the petition objecting to the application for a liquor licence at a local petrol station.

BP has applied for an off-consumption liquor licence.

On Saturday 16 October residents held a peaceful demonstration in the area to express their dissatisfaction.

Ndoxy Radebe, deputy secretary of the Woodstock Resident’s Association, says the Woodstock community is suffering directly from alcohol-related harms, including the impact on physical and mental health, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.

“There is so much alcohol around that area already and there is also a lot of abuse. There are two schools and a masjid about 300 to 500 metres away from the petrol station. A hundred metres away there is another pub that sells alcohol, so we are objecting based on those reasons.”

He says selling alcohol at petrol stations will increase the incidents of drunken driving, interpersonal violence and crime. He explains that adding even more liquor outlets is “against our interests as residents.

“We should look after our community. Woodstock has so many challenges, lots of crime, and we also don’t want a driver to enter a petrol station and then have access to alcohol. It’s like giving someone a weapon and saying go out and kill people.

Shabodien Roomanay, vice-chair of the Salt River Heritage Society, says: “We strongly object; we believe the current outlets are more than adequate to serve controlled drinkers and as a community we believe that should be sufficient. We don’t need more. Ideally we wished that the bottle stores that are there would be closed.

“We want a stable community, a stable society and Salt River sadly was known at one point as a disaster as people over consumed alcohol and drugs and it destroyed homes, and families. The way to deal with it is to make sure that access is limited in a controlled way.”

Shamiel Abbas, chair of the Woodstock Community Outreach Forum, says he has first-hand experience of how alcohol consumption affects the community.

“We have seen the impact of the alcohol abuse when it was reintroduced during the lockdown period and this has a major impact on crime as well. I have been part of the neighbourhood watch patrols, we have seen the impact it has and the state of drunkenness and the rowdiness that was taking place and it has a major impact on the community.”

According to the National Liquor Policy of 2016 “liquor premises should be located at least 500 metres away from schools, places of worship; recreation facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas and public institutions.”

It further states that “no liquor licences shall be issued to petrol service stations; premises attached to petrol service stations; premises near public transport; and areas not classified for entertainment or zoned by municipalities for purposes of trading in liquor.”

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (SAAPA SA), together with its 26 alliance partners from various sectors in civil society and its research partners, calls on government to address this issue urgently.

It is also urging the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) to fast-track the enactment into law of the Liquor Amendment Bill, 2016, which prohibits the granting of liquor licences to petrol stations.

Terri-Liza Fortein, Communication Head for SAAPA SA, says alcohol is the most widely-used drug in South Africa and causes more harm than any other drug to consumers and non-consumers alike.

“Alcohol harm already costs South Africa R38 billion annually, is the third-largest cause of deaths and disabilities in the country, and is one of the main contributors to interpersonal violence and pedestrian deaths. Petrol stations and adjoining convenience stores are now fuelling existing alcohol harm problems by applying for liquor licences.”

The applicant had not responded to questions at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile the Western Cape Liquor Authority says it has received several liquor licence applications for selling alcohol at petrol station convenience stores.

“Based on the nature of the proposed licences and potential impact beyond the immediate areas the Liquor Licensing Tribunal requires broader public input for consideration of these applications” said The Liquor Authority in a statement.

Residents in the Western Cape can submit comments on this matter in general with the subject ‘Petrol Station Applications’ via email to liquor.enquiries@wcla.gov.za or call 021 204 9805 for queries. Comments must be submitted by Monday 8 November.


Reposted from People’s Post.

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