Alcohol made more accessible despite its harms

* runs contrary to WC Government Green Paper on Alcohol Harm Reduction.
* runs contrary to City’s own Alcohol and Drug Strategy.
* ignores the devastating social impact.
* multiplies the problem across the City.

Today I attended the inaugural meeting of Subcouncil 6 as a Subcouncil member. There are 12 Subcouncil members – 11 of which are DA, and I am the only opposition member.

10 liquor license applications to extend the trading hours, including 4 for Sunday trading, were approved without any contrary voice raised except mine.

I raised the following 4 points:

1. The WC Governments Green Paper on Alcohol Harm Reduction:
Simply put this Green Paper seeks to reduce harms by reducing access (supply) and demand.
The Subcouncils decisions serve to increase supply and reward demand.

2. The City’s Alcohol and Drug Strategy:
This strategy, initially written and tabled by the ACDP (and adopted as City policy) calls for the reduction of supply and demand. Again, the Subcouncils decisions appear in conflict with this principle.

3. The negative social impact of alcohol on individuals, families, communities and the economy is well studied and documented. The Medical Research Council et al periodically releases scientific reports on its trends and impacts. It drives around 70% of all crime in Cape Town and is the primary contributor to road accidents and fatalities.
Domestic abuse and violence, social violence, aggression, crime and road incidents escalate on weekends yet trading hours are being extended and Saturdays and granted on Sundays.
Again, the Subcouncils decisions run contrary to these realities.

While each individual application may be compliant with minimum expectations, these are insensitive and ill-informed in terms of societal realities.

There are 24 Subcouncils in CT, each meeting 10 times per year. If each only approves 5 such applications at every meeting (half of the ten that were approved today in one Subcouncil) it equates to 1,200 approvals per year.

The DA seems to be willfully ignoring the broader social impact and the WC Governments concerns expressed in its Green Paper – this is of great concern to the ACDP.


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