South Africa

Gauteng liquor licences to be digital soon

The digitization project is expected to assist government to process the licence applications by the sector, including taverns, eateries such as restaurants, Shisanyama outlets and other retailers.

The main objective of the initiative is to among others, enable the Gauteng Liquor Board to keep updated and verifiable information on the number of licensed establishments, as well as to efficiently process applications.

The liquor industry contributes R173 billion to the country’s GDP, with an additional R72 billion to tax revenues. This translates into approximately 1 million jobs in the different areas, such as manufacturing, distribution, and selling.

In a consultative session held in August, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi presented his vision for the province’s future licensing process to tavern owners and liquor sector partners. These parties pledged to prioritise safety in the sector’s operations.

During the consultation engagements issues around non-compliance, selling of alcohol to underage children and retailers who operate without valid trading licenses were raised.

This resulted in a number of pledges that were signed between GPG and the sector, emphasizing a commitment to prioritise safety and responsible trading practices, as well as to reduce crime.

Gauteng has high alcohol abuse related health incidents and is grappling with a high crime rate. In addition to placing additional strain on the already overworked healthcare system, alcohol abuse, and especially binge drinking, contributes significantly to the surge in crime, road accidents, and public disorder

“We are determined to address the challenges associated with liquor misuse head- on. Through compliance enforcement, eradicating illegal trade, and reducing corruption, we aim to foster an era where all liquor traders operate responsibly and uphold the law. The province’s government is collaborating with the industry’s key actors, who have promised to be constructive allies in ensuring that everyone follows the law, that illicit trade and corruption are eradicated, and that compliance is monitored,” says Premier Lesufi.

At the moment there are no plans to cease the issuing of liquor trading licences.

The issuing of licences will continue in a more stringent, vigorous and balanced manner in order to maintain social order and continue to increase and contribute towards economic activity and inclusion of the disenfranchised.

The provincial government is exploring cooperation with various partners in the liquor industry to develop and co-create community initiatives that will see us turn the tide and the negative association that liquor trading has had, especially in our townships.

Industry-led initiatives such as Heinekens ‘Taverns of the Future’, Diego’s commitment to offer learners licences to 40 000 Gauteng residents are already programs we are fully supporting.

“We call on others, whether large or small traders, to develop uplifting community initiatives that GPG can fully back and support,” said the provincial government.

Retailers and other stakeholders are urged to remember the pledge we all committed to. We also strongly urge communities to do their part and report illegal selling of alcohol to underage children, as well as any other suspicious behavior related to the use or sale of alcohol to the police.

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