Child injury prevention unit and NPO, ChildSafe, have opposed liquor licenses being issued to petrol stations, under the banner of “customer convenience”.
Child injury prevention unit and NPO, ChildSafe, have opposed liquor licenses being issued to petrol stations, under the banner of “customer convenience”.

Liquor sales at petrol stations will have ’grave consequences’

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Aug 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Child injury prevention unit and NPO, ChildSafe, have opposed liquor licenses being issued to petrol stations, under the banner of “customer convenience”.

This follows a recent announcement by British Petroleum South Africa (BPSA) becoming the first petroleum company to market with wine and launching their first “wine-to-go” pilot store at BP Radiokop, in the Westrand, with a planned roll-out of the offer to selected BP sites throughout the country.

Office manager for ChildSafe Chiedza Mujeni, based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, said the decision to have these licenses issued to petrol stations will have “grave consequences”.

“Children are already falling victim to drunk drivers. We should be protecting our children, not putting them more in harm's way, by making it easier for drivers who drink and drive to access alcohol ... The introduction of alcohol will have grave consequences for children not only as pedestrians, but also as passengers.

“A child in a vehicle with a drinking driver is not only at risk from the impaired driver, but also from the lack of safety restraint use (like a seat belt or child safety seat), as drinking drivers are much less likely to make sure a child is properly restrained. Specifically, in fatal crashes, sober drivers had restrained their children 30.5% of the time, compared with only 18 % for drinking drivers,” said Mujeni.

According to Mujeni, data available to the organisation showed a 43% increase in motor vehicle-related incidences, when compared with 2019, where alcohol was banned to the same period in 2020.

ChildSafe, as an alliance Partner of the Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (SAAPA SA), said: “It is likely to contribute to an increase in alcohol-related traffic incidents and, from ChildSafe's point of view, a potential increase in the number of children who might suffer injury or death as a result. South Africa already has too many licensed and unlicensed alcohol outlets, and there is no need to add another potential 5 000 outlets.”

“The data further suggests that all preventable childhood injuries, that resulted in hospitalisation, increased by 103% comparing the period of the alcohol ban and the same period the following year, when the ban was lifted,” said Mujeni.

BPSA, however, said that their overall convenience partnership with Pick n Pay, is piloting a “wine to go” offer in a select number of Pick n Pay Express convenience stores.

“Customers’ expectations for convenience have amplified, and our convenience offers needed to adapt and respond to customer demands in a responsible way. Key to this is strict adherence to laws governing the sale of liquor, including all the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 regulations.

“The wine is sold for off-site consumption and, in accordance with the provincial legislation, specifically, the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003, and in line with the mandate and authority that the regulating authority carries.

’’We are aware and sensitive to the concerns raised around this offer and will continue to take guidance from the regulator, and all other stakeholders. BPSA values open societies, with a good balance on personal preferences, characterised by the rule of law, and respect to civic freedoms,” said BPSA.

Cape Times

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