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SAAPA warns against awarding of liquor licenses to petrol stations.

Article by: Dumisane Dube

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) says the awarding of liquor licenses to petrol stations could have negative repercussions.

Saapa says this would also lead to an increase in alcohol consumption, job losses and drunk driving.

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

Saapa 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 says allowing global petrol giants to dominate the alcohol industry in conjunction with supermarket chains has already resulted in the closure of 70% of small retailers and a loss of 60 000 jobs.

Maurice Smithers says the licenses must be put on hold.

“It’s a thing around the world. They are trying to become this kind of a one-stop-shop in a particular area and they want people to go and buy some groceries there, newspapers, basic essentials and now alcohol as well and we are concerned that this is going to lead from an economic point of view to the further closure of small businesses,” said Smithers.

Saapa director adds that they have already engaged the government and had also reached out to premiers and MECs regarding the issue.

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