The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has welcomed the release of two long awaited Bills that are critical for the South African society, said Committee Chairperson Ms Joanmariae Fubbs.
The Bills are; National Liquor Amendment Bill and National Gambling Amendment Bill, released by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on 3 October 2016, in which the public will have 30 and 45 days respectively to comment on the Bills. Public comments on the Liquor Amendment Bill closes on 30 October 2016, while those for the Gambling Amendment Bill will close on 15 November 2016.
Ms Fubbs again welcomed Minister Davies's acknowledgement that both Bills will need robust public engagement. “These Bills raise issues that have long plagued communities in South Africa with drunken driving and the carnage they have let loose on the roads needing to be dealt with urgently. Issues in these Bills have also increased social pathologies in the communities and very often leading to a complete breakdown in the family structure. The high incidence of alcohol abuse needs sanctions that will include not only the person consuming the alcohol but also many of those in the chain both marketing and selling alcohol,” said Ms Fubbs.
Ms Fubbs said the focus will be on increasing the need for responsible drinking and a consideration of the location and age of the drinker.
“The social pathologies around gambling addiction have become more apparent in recent years and there is a need to regulate rigorously all forms of gambling. It is the vision of this government to develop and or promote economic activities and it recognise that some members of the community regard this as a form of leisure and participate responsibly. However there remains a need for this to be regulated,” she said.
She reiterated further that according to international studies South Africa has currently one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption, well over 10% compared to the world average of 6% and a significantly high incidence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the world. Furthermore the costs to the fiscus are R3.7 billion.
However, Ms Fubbs emphasised that legislation without effective sanctions and enforcement are not worth the paper they are written on. “So, when these Bills come before the Portfolio Committee, it will study and scrutinise them, unpacking the clauses and their scope but also effective sanctions and effective enforcement clauses. In this way the Committee hopes to contribute to more robust legislation,” said Ms Fubbs.
Ms Fubbs also welcomed the proposal in the Gambling Amendment Bill which proposes the repositioning of the National Gambling Board to become the National Gambling Regulator (NGR) which will operate without a board. She added that the Minister’s statement that on the adoption of the Bill, provincial licensing authorities will not be empowered to issue licences in relation to lottery or any activity related to the lottery, addresses the current practices. The Committee would have to study and deliberate on the Bill before taking a position.
“However what is clear is that we are committed on building communities and a society which creates an enabling environment for families and indeed all those who live in South Africa to develop their full potential and become responsible members of society. To this end we are focussed on a developmental state with a productive and inclusive economy,” Ms Fubbs concludes.
- Joanmariae Fubbs, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry
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