It is the Duty of Every South African Citizen to Participate in Policy Formulation

It is the duty of every South African citizen to participate in policy formulation. This was said by the Director of Gambling Policy and Law, Mr Nkoatse Mashamaite at the public consultation session for the National Gambling Amendment and Liquor Amendment Bills hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in Moruleng, North West today.

Mashamaite said the main reason for the consultation session was to present the two Bills in order to solicit comments and input from the South African public especially those that might not have had the opportunity to submit their written comments.

The main reason for this nationwide drive is two folds. One is to get public input on the Bills and to conduct education and awareness on benefits and harms associated with gambling. Gambling affects societies in a positive and negative way, and the negative effects always outweigh the positive. Government is constitutionally required to involve the public in policy formulation in order to ensure that the laws approved have considered views from all affected, said Mashamaite.

He mentioned that public comments and inputs were required to address issues such as implementing measures to combat illegal gambling, forfeiture of unlawful winnings, implementing education and awareness strategies and ensuring socio-economic effects of gambling are considered before approval of limited pay-out machines, amongst other things.

The Director for Liquor Law and Policy at the dti, Ms Clementine Makaepea said the public consultations on the National Liquor Amendment Bill were meant to solicit input regarding aspects such as the restriction of advertisement of liquor, increasing drinking and purchase age from 18 to 21 years, making manufactures and distributors liable if their products were found in unlicensed outlets, trading hours and intensifying education and awareness.

It is always our duty as government to consider and respond to issues that affect society in a negative way. Communities rarely understand the dangers of and health risks associated with drinking and the abuse of liquor, as well as the laws regulating the liquor industry. Therefore, we need to involve stakeholders, members operating in the alcohol industry, organisations that deal with social issues created by alcohol abuse and the public at large when formulating the liquor policy, added Makaepea.

Cabinet approved the National Gambling Amendment Bill and the National Liquor Amendment Bill for wider public consultation in September 2016 and both the Bills were published in the Government Gazette. Further, Cabinet approved the National Liquor Policy same day as the Bills and the policy was published along with the Bills for public information.

Source: The Department of Trade and Industry