Community and members of the Buffalo City metro conduct awareness and outreach campaign against Illegal taverns
Scenery Park in East London, where more than 21 underage teenagers died in the Enyobeni tavern, is home to at least 19 taverns.
This news has shaken the community, officials from the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, the Eastern Cape Liquor Board and other officials who are today going on an outreach programme aimed at reining-in the prevalence of underage drinking and the number of illegal liquor spots in the area.
Speaking ahead of the outreach programme, Buffalo City metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the aim of the campaign was to drive awareness in light of the tragedy that took place in Scenery Park over a week ago, when a tavern hosting underage children and reportedly operating without a legal permit had extended its operating hours without authorisation from the metro and the liquor board.
“We as the Buffalo City metro will be conducting visits to all the taverns in this area today to monitor compliance and bring about awareness on the dangers of operating without a licence,” Ngwenya said.
The visit to Scenery Park taverns would be done in conjunction with the Eastern Cape Liquor Board and Safety authorities to raise awareness, inspect and monitor compliance with attendance from metro leadership, councillors, and the Portfolio Committee of Parliament (Children, Youth & People with Disabilities) also expected under the theme: “Enabling a Safer, Caring and Law-abiding Community”.
“We want to ensure that we bring people on board and make sure they are integrated so that they follow by-laws and other regulations with the aim of the outreach campaign being to: inform and educate parents, tavern owners and the community at large on roles, rules and responsibility, enforcement of the by-laws on illegal tavern owners, and reduce the supply and consumption of alcohol and drugs in the long-term," Ngwenya added.
Even though the programme will be peaceful and not confrontational, Ngwenya says those who are running illegal establishments will be closed down until they have become compliant.
"The aim is to educate more than it is to be confrontational. However, those we find to be operating without licences or those whose taverns which are in contravention of by-laws will be closed down until they are compliant,“ he said.
Ngwenya said the city’s law enforcement agencies, fire services, disaster management, business, planning, health and environmental services would be in attendance.