CAPE TOWN, February 12 (ANA) – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is being “incredibly irresponsible” by introducing the draft Liquor Amendment Bill without a proper socio-economic assessment study being carried out, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
“After months of ducking and diving by the department of trade and industry (dti), the DA has received confirmation that the socio-economic assessment study on the draft Liquor Amendment Bill has not been completed, despite minister Davies’s intention to submit the bill to Cabinet within the first quarter of 2017,” DA spokesman Dean Macpherson said.
The DA would therefore write to Davies, in light of these revelations, to demand that a full economic impact study be conducted urgently and that this be released to the public before the bill was submitted to Cabinet for ratification.
The public had a right to know what this bill would cost the economy and the impact it would have on job creation and sustainability, especially considering various proposals contained in the bill, he said.
According to section 7(1), no liquor licenses would be issued to petrol service stations; premises near public transport; and areas not classified for entertainment or zoned by municipalities for purposes of trading in liquor.
According to section 7(2), liquor premises had to be located at least 500 metres away from schools, places of worship, recreation facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas, and public institutions.
“Excluding new licenses within 500 metres of residential areas would be hugely problematic for the restaurant trade. Streets like Long Street in Cape Town, Florida Road in Durban, or Vilakazi Street in Soweto could become ghost streets because of these amendments, causing huge harm to the local economy,” Macpherson said.
“It is therefore incredibly irresponsible for minister Davies to have introduced this bill without a proper socio-economic assessment study being done. For far too long, the department of trade and industry and minister Davies have failed to produce evidence and studies to back up their bill.”
The DA would continue to push for the impact assessment report to be conducted and released to the public so that those who could be affected had the information they deserved, he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)