The Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (“MER”) held a consultative meeting with liquor associations and relevant stakeholders. This meeting took place at Dipaliseng Municipality in Balfour on Tuesday, 20 February 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to remind liquor traders about the negative impact of non-compliance and irresponsible trading.
The meeting was attended by the Department of Community Safety Security and Liaison, Department of Home Affairs, the South African Police Services (“SAPS”), Liquor associations and the Municipality of Dipaliseng.
The department of Home Affairs which was part of the workshop discouraged business owners from employing illegal immigrants. The liquor traders were informed that only documented immigrants with VISA and permits can be employed in liquor outlets. It was further explained that if a liquor trader is found employing an illegal foreigner, not only is the foreigner going to be charged, the business owner will also be liable.
During the workshop, SAPS outlined their mandate of fighting crime and stressed that these liquor workshops must create a culture of compliance. It was also emphasised that after the workshop, non-compliant traders will be arrested. SAPS also highlighted the importance of safety and encouraged traders to hire security guards to ensure that no one is allowed to enter their premises with weapons.
SAPS warned that irresponsible liquor trading contributes to criminal activity. There are cases where women were raped on their way from taverns. Traders were encouraged to alert the police when they suspect any criminal activity within their premises.
Furthermore it was emphasised that the government together with the relevant stakeholders are committed to work closely with liquor traders in the reduction of crime and domestic violence within communities.
The local policing forum also added that they are facing challenges of fly-by-night liquor outlets which does not comply with the law. The policing forum explained that, as part of their duty within the community, they also ensure that people do not carry weapons in and around liquor outlets.
The MER noted with concern that out of the 41 liquor outlets in Dipaliseng Municipality, there are traders who are trading without a licence. During the meeting some traders needed clarity on various issues, such as the process to obtain a licence. Traders who wanted to renew their licences were informed that their previous conduct will be considered before the renewal if they were compliance or non-compliance.
“It is a big concern to us as MER, we are aware that you survive by trading alcohol however we are here to remind you of what you already know, which are the risks of non-compliance, including trading without a liquor licence”.