BOOZE COSTS sA BILLIONS

TRADING in liquor contributes R10billion a year to the country's economy, an indaba in Mpumalanga heard yesterday.

TRADING in liquor contributes R10billion a year to the country's economy, an indaba in Mpumalanga heard yesterday.

But the government spends well over R50billion in dealing with problems that emanate from alcohol abuse.

This was revealed yesterday by Sandile Nkosi of the National Liquor Regulatory Forum at the Tavern and Shebeen indaba in KaNyamazane outside Nelspruit.

Nkosi said the money was used by, among others, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to pay third-party claims and to create awareness campaigns to spread road safety messages.

"Other costs borne by the state include social grant payments to surviving children who lost parents in road accidents owing to drunk drivers," Nkosi said.

He said South Africa was among the leading countries in the high incidence of babies born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was concerned.

FAS is a disorder that affects the embryo when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy.

Provincial department of community safety director Nontsundu Ndonga warned that liquor traders would lose their trading licences if they do not respect the Liquor Act.

Ndonga also appealed to liquor traders not to sell liquor to minors or already intoxicated people and not to trade after the regulated time.

"Designated liquor officers at police stations must also refrain from colluding with unscrupulous applicants, who usually mislead the provincial liquor board by falsifying information in order to be granted licences," Ndonga said.

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