Don’t sell booze to kids‚ KZN MEC warns
Bongani Mthethwa | 2017-02-01 16:01:45.0
Sihle Zikalala. File photo.
Image by: ROGAN WARD
If you sell booze to school kids‚ you’re going to be shut down.
This is the warning from KwaZulu-Natal economic development‚ tourism and environment affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala‚ who said his department would be cracking down on shebeens to pupils.
He was speaking to The Times in Ingwazulu‚ on the country’s border near Swaziland and Mozambique‚ where he said 15 illegal liquor outlets had already been shut down.
With the KZN Liquor Authority now falling directly under him‚ Zikalala promised to deal decisively with errant liquor outlets and shebeens. His visit to Umkhanyakude District was prompted by complaints from some schools in the area that education was being disrupted by unscrupulous liquor outlet owners.
“As the province‚ we want to work together to ensure that we promote the culture of teaching and learning. In KZN we have closed at least 136 illegal outlets which were selling alcohol illegally. Some of them were closed because they were selling near the schools.
“We are not going to allow the future of our children to be ruined by people who are selling alcohol to young people who are expected to be at school‚” said Zikalala.
He said although he was impressed by the culture and level of teaching in the Jozini municipality‚ they were going to take steps to ensure that all illegal liquor outlets selling alcohol to children were shut down.
“We are going to be decisive in doing that because we must ensure that we protect the future of our country. Some of these outlets are working like nightclubs where children entertain themselves.
“But more than that some are just selling during the day and even selling to children and we are not going to allow that to happen. It is affecting a number of schools‚ hence we are taking this decision that we will be all out in the campaign to ensure that we close these outlets‚” he said.
Zikalala said alcohol abuse was prevalent among school children in the area and it was very concerning to teachers.
“Teachers are working hard to instil discipline and we must support them by being more decisive. But we must appeal to parents to ensure they participate in the teaching and learning of their children through ensuring and enforcing discipline and monitoring that their children are at school and learning‚” said Zikalala.
Earlier in the day‚ Zikalala visited iSicelosethu High School and Lundini Primary School in the area where he interacted with teachers about how to improve the quality of education. He promised the teachers that he will engage with the KZN Liquor Authority‚ the police and the Department of Community Safety and Liason as well as both the local and district municipalities in order to deal decisively with the offending liquor establishments.