Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Nkosiphendule Kolisile recently hosted a public discussion about the proposed bill of banning alcohol sale on Sundays. This event, held at the Uncle Tom’s Community Centre in Orlando West, Soweto was open to the public . Kolisile hopes that this strategy will slow down alcohol abuse in the country.
The guests of honour included the President of the South African Liquor Traders Association (SALTA) Saint Madlala as well as the Deputy Editor of the Sowetan Mapula Nkosi. The heated debate saw bar, tavern and shebeen owners arguing that if the proposed bill is successful, then liquor should rather be banned between Monday and Wednesday. Alcohol sales are apparently always at their lowest on these days. They added that business gets very busy between Thursday and Sunday when people start winding down and celebrating.
The MEC is adamant that the aim of the bill is to protect those children who often struggle to study or prepare for school because their parents either sell alcohol as a means of survival or they live close to a shebeen. “The excuse parents usually give is that they sell alcohol because they want their children to go to the best schools. But how can children have better education while they sleep in class the next day due to the loud music that was playing at a shebeen close to their homes the previous night,” asked the MEC.
SALTA President Saint Madlala said that not selling liquor on a Sunday would mean that business turnover would decrease by at least 15 to 17 percent. This would also impact the overtime pay and tips that employees receive, he added.
The South African Revenue Services (SARS), would also lose millions of rands as a result of businesses not operating on days that bring in more revenue.
Madlala also indicated that liquor advertising should not be forced to change their model of advertising but should rather be encouraged to place warning sings similar to those on cigarette packaging.
In conclusion, The MEC assured citizens that the bill is only in proposal stage and is still being considered by the government. “Every decision that will be taken will be in favour of the people,” he said.