Date: 24 December 2017 By: Maanda Bele
The festive season is characterized by a more relaxed atmosphere and celebrations, where people are surrounded by friends and family members. Often these celebrations go hand in hand with alcohol consumption, and the abuse thereof by young people causes many problems. Fingers are also pointing to the liquor stores and tavern owners who sell their products to persons under 18.
According to a concerned parent, Ms Rendani Mulaudzi, liquor store owners only care about making a quick buck. “Their main objective is to make money,” she said. “They really don’t care about the future of our children; all they want is money.”
Business owner Nditsheni Ravele had a different view and said that it was difficult to tell a person's age by just looking at them. “I would never sell alcohol to minors deliberately,” he added. “Most of my customers are parents and community leaders, so they assist me in identifying under-age customers.” Like many others, he felt that parents also had a big role to play in preventing their children from hanging out at taverns.
Limpopo Mirror interviewed a girl who started drinking at a very young age. Because of her age, we cannot disclose her identity. She described how she grew up in an environment where people do not have a lot of regard for the law or people’s rights. “They only pay attention to the customary belief that children should obey their parents or elders. When a child gets asked to perform certain duties by uncles, grandfathers or fathers, such as going to a liquor store to purchase ‘cold ones’, they are expected to do so without asking questions,” she said.
The girl said that she had started drinking when she was only 15 years old. She said that she was never asked for her identification documents to confirm her age when she purchased liquor at the store. “I grew up staying next to a shebeen, and my uncles would send me almost every day to buy them beers. When I entered the store, they never asked me for my ID, they just gave me what I wanted,” she said. “I started going to the tavern every weekend to drink when I was 15 and still no-one asked me my age.”
The SAPS spokesperson in Limpopo, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe, urged taverns owners to comply with the South African Liquor Act. “Children under the age of 18 years are not allowed in any liquor outlet. Should we find such young children in your liquor outlet, you are going to be charged in terms of the Liquor Act,” he warned.
Maanda Bele, born and raised in Nzhelele Siloam, is currently a third year journalism student at the Tshwane University of Technology.
He is passionate about current news and international affairs.
He joined the Zoutnet team as an intern in 2017.