The Democratic Alliance welcomes the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Helen Sauls-August ‘s frustration with the number of liquor licences being issued in the province (Daily Dispatch, 18 May 2012). For some time now the Democratic Alliance has been warning the Department of Safely and Liaison that alcohol misuse is a major trigger of crime in this province. We need to be brutally tough on the causes of crime and radically reduce the destructive path that alcohol misuse has on our society fabric. It has now reached intolerable levels. A concerted plan of action is long overdue.
The DA is calling for a major clampdown on all illegal liquor establishments and of the misuse of alcohol. Being dronk is not cool.
The clampdown on misuse of alcohol in this province needs to encompass:
1. Tightening up of the provincial liquor act to prevent misuse of alcohol;
2. Closing down all the illegal shebeens;
3. Appointing more liquor inspectors in the province. There are currently only nine;
4. Tightening up the penalties for offences;
5. A general education campaign which warns the public at large of the dangers of alcohol abuse and crime;
6. Accurate research by both the Departments of Safety & Liaison and of Economic Affairs to correlate the abuse of alcohol in relation to crime statistics by geographic location.
The public at large needs to be aware that there is a strong relationship between crime and the availability of alcohol, particularly the high rate of violent crime in this province. Reported SAPS statistics of the 2010/2011 year for the Eastern Cape indicate that there were the following cases: assault – with the intent to do grievous bodily arm 30 804; common assault 16 587; sexual crimes 9 380; murder 3 181.
National research has shown that people under the influence account for: 25% of weapons-related offences, 22 % of rapes, 17% of murders, 14% of assault cases, 22% of housebreaking cases, 10% of robberies and a shocking 49% of family violence cases are sparked by alcohol abuse. Sixty percent of all drivers killed in South Africa each year lose their lives as a result of drunken driving.
Alcohol abuse costs the national economy an estimated R38 billion through violence, crime, HIV infections, absenteeism, low productivity and incarceration.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to vigorously pursue this matter in the Portfolio Committees of Safety and Liaison and Economic Development and Environmental Affairs.