Limpopo conference looks at SA liquor industry

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pretoria – A robust policy framework, which will be streamlined in all spheres of government, is vital to sustaining and growing South Africa’s liquor industry, says the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The liquor industry was estimated to have contributed R93.2 billion to the South African economy in 2009/10.

Speaking at the two-day Liquor Regulators Conference in Limpopo on Wednesday, Chief Director of the National Liquor Authority (NLA) at the dti, Thezi Mabuza, said the country’s liquor industry had not changed in the past 10 years in relation to capital and ownership.  The informal sector was still occupied by historically disadvantaged individuals.

The dti administers the Liquor Act No. 59 of 2003 through the NLA, a national entity within the department.

“We need to develop a cooperative and integrated regulatory framework that promotes a sustainable and responsible liquor industry that will contribute positively and in a matured manner to those issues we all need solutions to,” said Mabuza

Speaking on behalf of retailers, Ben Mdebuka of the South African Liquor Traders Association (SALTA) said regulation and licensing procedure should be streamlined in such a way that authorities speak with one voice.

“Legislation needs to strike a balance between the needs of players in the industry to ensure that there is healthy competition. Self-regulation must be promoted by the act to promote development and responsible trading,” he said.

The objectives of the conference -- which is attended by representatives of liquor authorities and enforcement agencies -- are to share knowledge and best practices on liquor regulation; understanding the role of different departments in liquor regulations and developing an ideal model for the synchronisation of liquor regulation to ease the regulatory burden.

The conference will conclude today.

In July last year at an anti-alcohol abuse campaign held in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, Mabuza told the community that they had a right to oppose the issuing of liquor licences and report liquor outlets that did not comply with the National Liquor Act.

She also informed the community that they could report liquor outlets or taverns that sold alcohol to children. -