Selling booze to schoolkids must stop

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Shebeens within 100m of schools should close for four hours a day to prevent schoolchildren and teachers from buying liquor during school hours.

This proposal was made at a meeting of the South African Liquor Traders' Association (Salta) and the Young Communist League (YCL).

The four-hour closure was proposed by the YCL when the organisation met Salta in Johannesburg yesterday.

Salta spokesman Saint Madlala said his organisation was considering the proposal and would discuss it with all stakeholders within 30 days.

The law stipulates that shebeens can open at 10am but the YCL wants to keep them closed until 2pm.

Since late last year, the league has been calling for all liquor outlets near schools to close during school hours, claiming they are a source of violence and that they contribute to poor examination pass rates.

YCL members visited shebeens in Meadowlands, Soweto, when schools reopened last week to check if liquor was sold to schoolchildren and teachers.

But legal shebeen owners will not take the proposal lying down.

Madlala said no legal shebeen will be allowed to close.

"We understand and are also concerned [about schoolchildren drinking]. Though we do not agree that problems at schools are caused entirely by the liquor we sell, we are willing to work with the youth and student bodies," Madlala said.

He said families and teachers should discipline their children and ensure that they do not buy alcohol when they are supposed to be teaching or learning.

The league's secretary-general, Buti Manamela, urged liquor traders not to allow schoolchildren and their teachers access to shebeens.