PROVINCIAL LIQUOR SUMMIT
CHAIRPERSON’S ADDRESS – SUMMIT OVERVIEW
The Premier, the National Ministers, MEC Somyo, all the MECs here present, the Heads of Department (HODs), Mayors, Councillors, ECLB Board & CEO, CEOS of Sister Entities, Provincial Commissioner and the team from SAPS, CEOs & Board members from other provincial Liquor Authorities, representatives from various Institutions of Higher Learning, The traditional leaders among us, Provincial Liquor Forum, Community-based organisations, Council of Churches, NPOs, SALBA CEO, representatives from different liquor industry players, the ARA CEO, our partners and other stakeholders present, ladies and gentlemen.
Programme Director, as the Board we are extremely delighted to host this momentous Summit today. It is appropriate that as I give an overview of this Summit I – on behalf of the Board – start by acknowledging and thanking everyone that has honoured us with their presence. We appreciate your participation in this festival of ideas and look forward to your fruitful contribution to the strategic outcomes of the Summit.
Eastern Cape Liquor Board was introduced in 2003 through the Eastern Cape Liquor Act No. 10 of 2003. The objects of the Act are, among others, that the entry of new participants into the liquor industry is facilitated; that appropriate steps are taken against those selling liquor outside the administrative and regulatory framework established in terms of this Act; that those involved in the industry may attain and maintain adequate standards of service delivery; that community considerations on the registration of retail premises are taken into account, and the particular realities confronting the liquor industry in the Province can be addressed.
In view of our mandate as empowered by the Act, the Board continues to contribute to the provincial Government’s strategic goal of “Building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities” by fulfilling our social responsibility by directly or indirectly
contributing to the Government’s efforts of combating crime and upliftment of communities.
Programme Director, as we strive to fulfil our obligation as empowered by the Act we increasingly realise that regulation of liquor industry is a complex exercise. The enormous complexity of liquor industry is exacerbated by fragmentation in views various stakeholders espouse about the role of industry. The salient shifting of goalposts in the regulation of liquor industry creates an untenable milieu in which no one wants to take responsibility. The contrasting views on the economic contribution of liquor industry versus the costs associated with the abuse call for more rigorous engagement on the effective management of the industry.
Invariably, the control and monitoring of liquor industry is by its nature an intergovernmental exercise. As an example Ladies and Gentlemen, liquor affects health of our people, contributes to illegal activities, affects municipal zoning regulations, and needs to be made safely and hygienically to protect those who drink it. Each of these areas requires the intervention of different sectors of government and community, and many of them require several areas of government to cooperate in enforcement.
Invariably, suitable policy responses are needed to address the various health and social problems associated with use of and dependence on alcohol. There is a noticeable lack of general consistency or coherence in the conception of alcohol policies because of diverse worldviews on the role of alcohol. That said, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that it would be unwise to simply view alcohol policies from the narrow perspective of prohibition. Good regulation must help to strike the balance between these competing goals, by, for example, curbing the behaviours that cause social harm, while causing as little economic damage as possible.
It is, therefore, on the basis of the above contextualisation that the Board and its
Shareholder the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs took a view that there was an urgent need to convene all our stakeholders to enter into a dialogue on how to enhance regulation of liquor industry, with a view to develop coherent policy position that seeks to promote compliance and alleviate social ills that are associated with the industry and further streamline its contribution to the economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Summit is convened against the backdrop of the Eastern Cape Liquor Act (No. 10 of 2003) being reviewed with the main aim to amend certain sections. This Summit, therefore, as envisioned is an opportune moment for all stakeholders involved in the administration of liquor regulation to critically deliberate on the kind of liquor regulatory environment that we would like to see prevail in the Eastern Cape Province. We sincerely hope your strategic inputs will contribute towards the finalisation of this review process. It is our expectation that the Summit will create an environment for a well co – ordinated policy framework which will result in a highly coherent approach to liquor regulation. We seek to emerge from this Summit with a clear guidance and / or framework on how to grow and sustain the liquor industry in the Province. Furthermore, we are strongly convinced that this process will support our strategy that seeks to create an environment within which those involved in the liquor industry may attain and maintain adequate standards of service delivery.
Ladies and gentlemen, as I conclude I would like to accentuate the fact that as the Board we are cognisant of the enormity of challenges that engulf the regulation of liquor industry both provincially and nationally, and it is our sincere hope that a gathering like this one will potentially act as a catalyst to demystify the industry regulatory environment. We look forward to a gainfully thought-provoking engagement.
I thank you!