During the Standing Committee on Community Safety today, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, explained that there is a need to make the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) a self-sustaining entity. This should be done whilst promoting safe drinking culture, particularly amongst the youth of our province.
The overarching role of the WCLA is alcohol harms reduction, by ensuring that the liquor outlets are licensed. Ultimately, a balance needs to be struck between the WCLA’s ability to generate income and promote a safe drinking culture. Statistics show an incontrovertible correlation between increased levels of violence, interpersonal and gender-based violence, and the abuse of alcohol and other addictive substances.
Minister Fritz said, “At present, the WCLA generates income, firstly, through initial licensing fees. These fees are directed to the Provincial Treasury and the WCLA then applies for funding for the authority. The second revenue stream comes from fines, penalties and short-term applications. The WCLA Board and Provincial Treasury carry a lot of cost due to late applications, incomplete applications and additional advertising. We need to move past this to make the WCLA a self-sustainable entity.”
“The WCLA is, however, moving closer towards its aim of self-sustainability, whilst reducing the harms associated with alcohol. The Department has a strong partnership with the WCLA that addresses all elements of liquor trading, illegal liquor trading and the harms associated with alcohol abuse. In the 2018/19 financial year, more than 3500 inspections were conducted at liquor outlets. A total of 112 fines were issued for the period under review. This led to a 70% increase in WCLA revenue which was channeled back into the alcohol harm reduction interventions,” said Minister Fritz.
Minister Fritz further added, “In 2017, Cabinet approved a White Paper which will promote the WCLA’s role in enhancing the enforcement of alcohol. It will further have the effect of changing the funding model to ensure that the WCLA becomes a self-sustaining entity which doesn’t just ensure that the entity ‘breaks-even’ but allows it to cover its own overheads and no longer depend on the Department. In turn, this will free up of the Western Cape Government’s budget to address further safety issues in the province.”
Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety will continue to support the WCLA in its aim to achieve self-sustainability, whilst reducing alcohol-related harms.