The Automobile Association (AA) has noted reports that the Gauteng Liquor Board has agreed to extend liquor trading hours at the weekend to coincide with the ANC’s 105th anniversary celebrations. Thousands of ANC supporters are expected in the province from Friday to Sunday as part of the festivities.
In reports this afternoon, Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Mr Lebogang Maile is quoted as saying the event is expected to contribute positively to the economy of the province, especially in the areas of tourism and hospitality.
Mr Maile is further quoted as saying, “I am satisfied that there is a legislative latitude to, albeit on a temporary basis, relax conditions and the trading regime applicable to all licensed ‘bona fide’ in-house traders, in good standing with the Liquor Board, during the designated days.”
As the festive season holiday period begins to wind down, and thousands of motorists from across South Africa make their way home, it is critical to emphasise the importance of obeying road rules, and of observing good driver behaviour.
“We trust the decision to extend trading hours was made in consultation with road traffic authorities as well as the Department of Transport nationally, and in the province. The government knows that drinking and driving, and drinking and walking, remain major contributors to the festive season death toll and, as such, is aware of the risks associated with longer drinking times,” the AA said.
The AA further noted that at the beginning of the festive period more than 2500 drivers were stopped for drunk driving in the province, and that extended trading hours may exacerbate the problem of drink driving.
The Association appealed to the government to ensure that along with the extended trading hours, the hours of law enforcers are also extended to provide adequate policing to those on the road at this time, especially the innocent who are often the victims of drunk drivers.
“It makes sense that if the trading hours of liquor outlets are extended, government also provides the necessary enforcement framework to deal with any drivers who don’t follow the rules. It is critical that during this time as much as possible is done to protect those who do, but who become the victims of those who don’t,’ the AA concluded.