The provincial department of health is working with community safety organizations and the department of the premier to tighten the Western Cape’s liquor licence laws.
The move by the health department has partly been spurred by their findings that although Covid-19 hospitalizations have continued to decline, there has been an increase in trauma cases that can be traced to the irresponsible use of alcohol.
According to the department, there are peaks in trauma cases at hospitals during the first weekend of the month, the end of the month, and also over weekends.
This has helped them to detail the correlation between trauma cases and the availability of alcohol.
With the move to level 1 at the end of February, sales were allowed from Monday to Thursdays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Over the Easter break, bottle stores were prevented from selling alcohol.
Speaking during the pre-Easter holiday digital news conference, head of health Dr Keith Cloete said that 50% of trauma cases at the 13 provincial hospitals under surveillance for trauma data came from interpersonal violence, 34% of the cases were from general accidents, and 11% from road traffic accidents.
Cloete and the head of community safety Yashina Pillay co-lead a steering committee that deals with the provincial government’s approach to safety.
Cloete said: “A really big concern to us as a department is that one-third of the interpersonal violence trauma incidents is from violence against women.
“This gives you a sense of the levels of GBV we are experiencing across our system.
“We are looking at the evidence and in the process there is a set of recommendations that might lead to a set of legislative amendments around alcohol aimed at reducing its negative impact on society.”
Premier Alan Winde said the department of community safety, which was responsible for the Western Cape Liquor Authority, were championing a change in legislation and were preparing to go through the legislature to seek public comment.
Winde said: “There are things we want to change in legislation and even through that process we might tweak it even further, but that’s the process that’s happening right now.
“We need to get it out for public comment as soon as possible, get it through the standing committee process and actually get it through the legislature and effect some changes that will take the learning from the last year to make a big difference.”
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