Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
Owners of taverns and clubs will operate "underground" as they did in the days of apartheid - if the government caves in to the ANC Youth League leader's call for dry Sundays.
Saint Madlala, chairman of the South African Liquor Traders Association, yesterday predicted that the ANCYL campaign to close taverns on Sundays would harden operators' attitudes.
"Abuse of alcohol and under-age consumption result from a combination of factors. They are not caused by operators who trade on Sundays, but by societal problems.
"Operators will go underground as they did under apartheid should there be a law restricting them from selling on Sundays," he said.
Madlala said consumers would also devise means to undermine any law that barred them from drinking.
"People can still buy in bulk before Sunday. We need to rather work together with the ANCYL and all sectors of our society to solve the problems that lead people to abuse alcohol."
The ANCYL says it plans to campaign against operators from trading on Sundays - and to end sales at 2am on other days. The league's president Fikile Mbalula complained this week about irresponsible drinking, particularly among the youth.
He found ready support from the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and health authorities.
The Reverend Teboho Klaas of the SACC said the league should be commended for its proposal.
"The church has always made such a call, and we are impressed that the youth league has raised this issue."
He said operators should not place profits ahead of the nation's welfare.
Health department spokesman Sibani Mngadi said the department was concerned by the amount of alcohol being consumed locally.
"The level of high consumption has a direct effect on non-natural causes of death."