The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance South Africa, along with some of their affiliates, handed over the memorandum at the BPSA head office in Johannesburg.
The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance South Africa, along with some of their affiliates, handed over the memorandum at the BPSA head office in Johannesburg.

BP urged to rethink policy to sell liquor at petrol stations

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Sep 2, 2021

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DURBAN - THE Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (Saapa SA) on Wednesday handed over a memorandum to BP South Africa, calling for an immediate halt to their plans to apply for licences to sell alcohol at shops on the forecourts of their petrol stations.

Saapa SA, along with some of its affiliates, handed over the memorandum at the BP SA head office in Joburg.

Maurice Smithers, director of Saapa SA, said BP executives were working from home, but they had organised one of the security personnel to sign the memorandum which Saapa SA would email to group on Wednesday.

In the two-page memorandum, Saapa SA urged BP to rethink its decision to sell alcohol from its shops.

“We have also noted the applications by forecourt shops at three more BP petrol stations in Gauteng and two in the Western Cape.

“In response to a set of questions from Saapa SA and to requests for comment by the media, BP has made it clear that it intends to continue to pursue applying for such licences going forward,” the memorandum read.

Saapa SA said some provinces have taken a decision that premises at or near petrol station shouldn’t have liquor licences. That was significant because provinces are responsible for the issuing of retail liquor licences.

They believed there should be uniformity across the country and all provinces should align themselves with the national government.

Saapa SA called on BP to:

  • Recognise and understand the potential problems arising from selling alcohol from petrol stations.
  • Take the moral high ground as a multi-national company and leader in the petroleum industry to act in the interest of the common good, development and public health.
  • Rescind its decision to apply for liquor licences, and thereby increase its status as a company committed to the well-being of their customers.

In June this year Pick n Pay Express at BP Radiokop became the first site to launch the wine offer and the wine would be sold for off-site consumption and in accordance with provincial legislation, specifically the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003.

Saapa SA and its 23 alliance partners have been vocal against the selling of liquor and said they were concerned that the venues were not the right places to sell alcohol; the move sent out the wrong message in a country with a drinking and driving problem; many Southern African Development Community countries did not allow alcohol to be sold at petrol stations and it was a step backwards in efforts to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

Saapa SA said alcohol harm costs South Africa R38 billion yearly and was the most widespread drug of abuse in the country and the most harmful drug for users and non-users alike.

It is also the third-largest contributor to death and disability after unsafe sex/sexually transmitted infections and interpersonal violence, both of which are themselves influenced by alcohol consumption, said Saapa SA.

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