The Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) issued almost R7 million in fines to licensed liquor outlets across the province between November 2022 and November 2023.
Out of the 169 total fines issued, 49 were issued to licence holders in the priority areas, said Marcellino Martin, spokesperson for Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen.
Priority areas in the metro are Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, Delft, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Harare, Gugulethu and Philippi (Hanover Park).
Across the five district municipalities the areas are Beaufort West (Central Karoo), George (Garden Route), Witzenberg, (Cape Winelands), Swartland (West Coast) and Theewaterskloof (Overberg) municipalities.
Martin said 6 112 inspections were conducted across the province.
A total of 83 non-compliance reports were submitted of which 58 or nearly 70% emanated from the priority areas. These notices range from failing to comply with the conditions of their licence; failing to comply with the Western Cape Liquor Act and a compliance notice.
Allen, said: “The continued work of the WCLA is critical to combat the harms associated with the abuse of alcohol. I am encouraged by the operations of the inspectors, as we have seen where there are outlets operating outside the parameters of the law, further and avoidable acts of lawlessness tend to occur. The second quarter, July to September 2023 crime statistics for the 2023/24 financial year indicate that in the Western Cape, 16 people were killed, 12 attempted murders occurred, 6 alleged rapes were reported and 119 grievous bodily harm assault (GBH) cases happened at liquor outlets.”
Caro Smit, the founder and director of South Africans Against Drink Driving, said funds collected through alcohol distribution contravention fines should be used towards alcohol awareness.
“It is wonderful that WCLA is taking this very seriously. What would be even better would be if this money can be used towards bringing down the harms of heavy alcohol consumption.
“It could assist organisations to assist victims who are either paralysed or severely injured due to drunk driving, to help families who are in mourning and who have been pushed into poverty due to somebody driving under the influence.
“In SA we have very few rehabilitation centres available for those who have alcohol problems, and especially for those who need help paying for the very expensive alcohol units and treatment. Alcohol abuse is a very severe problem in SA,” said Smit.