Saapa SA wants moratorium on licences allowing alcohol sales at petrol stations

In June, BP and Pick n Pay Express were issued a grocer's licence, which allows them to sell wine - the first such licence in the country.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa SA) is calling on provincial liquor authorities to implement an immediate moratorium on awarding licences to allow alcohol to be sold at petrol stations.

In June, BP and Pick n Pay Express were issued a grocer's licence, which allows them to sell wine - the first such licence in the country.

Saapa SA, and 23 other groups, which include civil organisations and research partners, are calling on government to take action.

They want the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to step in and talk to provincial departments responsible for liquor licensing.

Saapa director, Maurice Smithers, said that they'd spoken to government and had also reached out to premiers and MECs regarding the issue.

"We're going to be pushing Cabinet because a number of ministers in Cabinet have over the past year indicated that they believe we need better legislation. We are in contact with a number of organisations globally that are looking at the issue of global alcohol harm, global alcohol policy alliance."

Director of the SA Medical Research Council’s alcohol, tobacco and other drugs research unit, Charles Parry, said that the road traffic death rate was double the global rate.

"We have a problem with alcohol on our roads and this is from the World Health Organization, 52% of fatally injured drivers have alcohol levels above 0.05," Parry said.

Parry also had questions, such as could government really allow this to move forward without having the data to know what the impact would be in the short and long term.

"Will this also lead to petrol stations on our national highway or is this only petrol station in our urban areas? I think it's a problem with both. Will it lead to alcohol being sold later in the evening for off-consumption? Is it a slippery slope?"

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