Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Qedani Mahlangu, has called on communities residing in areas where there are illegal shebeens or taverns to report them to the authorities so they can be closed down.
Speaking at a liquor stakeholder engagement with faith-based organizations in Johannesburg earlier today, Mahlangu said the increase of social ills is a result of excessive intake of alcohol.
"People do things and end up saying they do not remember what happened because they were drunk and this is unacceptable. As government, we felt we should engage religious groups to assist in addressing the problems we are faced with," Mahlangu said.
"Churches have an obligation to decide what needs to be done with places that are selling alcohol," she said.
Last month, Mahlangu announced that her department was working on a plan to shut down all illegal shebeens and taverns in the province.
She also said her department had embarked on a process to review all liquor permits and licences.
She warned that all those shebeens and tavern owners who are found to be violating their licenses would be prosecuted and have their taverns closed down.
Mahlangu said most domestic violence cases are influenced by excessive intake of alcohol.
As part of efforts to control unlimited access to alcohol, Mahlangu said the province would try to discourage liquor sales on Sundays and religious holidays.
Stakeholders present at the discussions were the South African Council of Churches, the Institute of Islamic Services and the Randburg Jewish Community representatives, who all supported the idea of closing down shebeens in residential areas.
They all supported the idea of punishing or arresting all those who sell liquor to children.
With regard to children consuming alcohol, Mahlangu urged parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their children. "Parents must take responsibility in raising their kids."
As part of cleaning the liquor industry in the province, Mahlangu said her department would employ more people to assist with regulation matters. Some will assist with the processing of licenses, while others will be employed to monitor adherence to liquor laws.