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Illicit alcohol trade costing SA R6.4bn a year

A new research study conducted by Euromonitor International has shown how the escalating rise in the black-market booze trade has cost SA R6.4bn last year compared to R1.6 billion in 2012.

Picture: EWN

SANDTON – It’s emerged the illicit alcohol trade is costing the country more than R6 billion a year.

A new research study conducted by Euromonitor International has shown how the escalating rise in the black-market booze trade has cost South Africa a whopping R6.4 billion last year compared to R1.6 billion in 2012.

Those interviewed have suggested tighter monitoring processes by government along with stronger prosecution.

Euromonitor International’s Kimberley Bryant says 14% of alcohol in the public domain is illicit.

She says spirits are the most prevalent illicit beverage type.

“Consumers who do actually drink are binge drinking and this alone has significant health and social impacts, with the recent study showing that one in every 10 deaths in South Africa can be attributed to alcohol abuse in some way.”

One of the report’s proposals to stop the black-market trade is to increase law enforcement with criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town's Law Enforcement Department started to dispose of 11,500 of litres of confiscated alcohol on Thursday.

During the past financial year, officials confiscated more than 16,900 bottles of liquor.

Nearly half was confiscated on three priority days: the switching on of the lights event, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith said: “The statistics prove that for some there is no fun to be had without alcohol. The reality is that this blatantly disregards the law and impact of their drinking and their anti-social behaviour and forces us to dedicate resources that could have been better utilised elsewhere.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)