Liquor store adjacent to church irks pastor

A liquor store is seen opposite the Weltevreden Park Chapel in Roodepoort. Northcliff Melville Times.

The Liquor Act is putting liquor outlets near educational institutions and places of worship in Gauteng under scrutiny.

Pastor Douglas Forsyth from the Weltevreden Park Chapel in Weltevreden Park, Roodepoort said a liquor store was situated less than 500m from the church, Northcliff Melville Times reported.

“I am deeply alarmed by the liquor store across us. We are not happy with it, and we have been fighting this for so many years,” said Pastor Forsyth, adding that the church was built in 1983.

He said: “I am also a marriage counsellor, and one of the factors that I find is that alcohol affects a lot of couples. And I have been trying to contact the Liquor Board but they never respond.”

Local councillor Amanda Forsythe said she was still in the process of collecting information from her own area.

“We have achieved great results, with five illegal operating establishments prosecuted and one licence [revoked] in the last few months,” said Forsythe.

Economic Development spokesperson Phindile Kunene said their main aim was to make sure everyone who was trading had a licence.

“We aim to be stricter and apply the law and also limit the negative impact of liquor operating in residential areas.”

The Liquor Board may grant or deny an operating liquor licence to those applying to trade within a 500m radius of places of worship and educational institutions or another liquor outlet.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Lebogang Maile confirmed there have been several reports of outlets serving children in school uniforms.

“There are [reports] that children attend classes intoxicated, and other pupils leave school premises during learning hours to purchase alcohol,” Maile said.

He added there were 12 000 illegal liquor trades in Gauteng alone.

Maile further added: “The department will strengthen the regulations of the liquor trading to be as strict in suburban areas as they plan to be in townships.”

In addition, the hours of trading for those liquor outlets will be closely inspected.This follows Gauteng’s proposed ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

However, in the cases of schools and churches that emerge after long-established liquor traders, there would be negotiations involving all those concerned, such as school governing bodies and other community members.

– Caxton News Service

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