WSLM community addresses liquor trading concerns through collaborative meetings

Story: Sinazo Bonongo | Photo: Sinazo Bonongo

In a bid to address concerns regarding liquor trading by-laws, Walter Sisulu Local Municipality (WSLM) is holding a series of community meetings around its jurisdiction, the first of which was convened on Tuesday, 30 January 2024 at the Joe Slovo community town hall in Maletswai. Councillors, officials, resident and business’ owners gathered to deliberate on these trading bi-laws. Their enforcement and measures aimed at meeting the needs of the community, business owners and as well as to adhere to legislated laws while curbing related issues. 

The meeting commenced with an overview of the existing liquor trading regulations by WSLM, Director, Community Services, Zolani Pungwani. Concerns were raised about the proliferation of liquor outlets in residential areas, underage drinking, public disturbances, and the enforcement of existing laws. One of the focal points of discussion was the necessity of striking a balance between supporting local businesses and safeguarding the well-being of the community. Participants emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts between authorities, businesses, and residents to mitigate the negative effects associated with alcohol misuse.

Several proposals were put forth during the meeting, largely regarding trading hours. The community expressed an intense desire for the times to be extended especially on weekends, public holidays as well as during festivals. They also implored the municipality to convene these meetings with South African Police Services (SAPS) and the South African Liquor Board as these are major role players in the intricacies and implementation of the bi –laws. Lastly, they  suggested an increase in peace officers in order to make the enforcement of the bi-laws manageable for all. There are further meetings to be held to address liquor traders while continuing to include the community in an effort to serve their best interests.