LAST ROUND: Liquor is often at the heart of many contact crimes, such as murder, the SAPS says. Picture: Alon Skuy
We HAVE once again entered the period of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. It is, however, important to note that these campaigns will not really be effective unless we address the root causes of violence.

One of the key causes in disadvantaged areas is the abuse of alcohol. It is the main substance that keeps food away from the mouths of children, that leads to the assault of women and children and which often causes vulnerable women to become involved with abusive men in the first place. In these areas, alcohol is most commonly obtained from shebeens, taverns and spaza shops.

The biggest problem with these outlets is that they make the purchasing of alcohol possible right there where people live, and at all hours.

The incidence of sexual, verbal and emotional abuse of women and children would be much lower if alcohol was less accessible.

Few people would spend money on travelling to distant liquor outlets, or make the effort to go to them, and they would not be able to buy it after hours. It should be illegal for taverns or shebeens to operate in residential areas. Many of these outlets are even selling liquor without licences, and then also to under-age children.

It is interesting to note that the very government that complains that alcoholism is so rife in disadvantaged areas has issued licences to these outlets. The community in which they operate is usually not consulted when applications for these licences are considered.

People often protest in front of homes known to be drug dens. Why don’t communities also demand the closure of any places selling alcohol in residential areas?

During holidays, police confiscate thousands of litres of alcohol from beachgoers. How often, however, do they conduct inspections and confiscate alcohol from spaza shops and shebeens selling liquor without permits?

* R Bartes, Cape Town.

*** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus