Family Policy Institute celebrated its 14th anniversary on 7 July 2022 – defending faith, family and freedom in South Africa. We give God the honor and glory for guiding us through 14 years of tough but rewarding ministry, including the privilege of faithfully serving His people.
We also express our deep gratitude and appreciation to our loyal partners in this vital ministry. Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support over the past 14 years. We cannot do what we do without you. Your valued partnership makes our vital work possible.
In early 2000, I made a submission to the Western Cape Provincial Government on the proliferation of shebeens or taverns in residential areas. It was estimated there were 25,000 shebeens/taverns in W/Cape residential communities with up to four outlets in one street.
The SA Police Service submission referred to unregulated shebeens/taverns as “hotbeds of crime and violence.” Nothing has changed. There are an estimated 250,000 shebeens or taverns in SA today – many of them unregulated – and therefore a law unto themselves.
The tragic deaths of 21 teenagers in a tavern in the Eastern Cape recently and the 9/10 July weekend massacre of 22 people at taverns in Soweto, Katlehong and Pietermaritzburg has highlighted both the national ANC, and DA provincial government’s neglect of this scourge.
Underage drinking is a national disgrace. Most of it takes place at unregulated liquor outlets. Alcohol companies blatantly target youth with trendy marketing campaigns. Sporting events are sponsored by liquor brands – associating alcohol consumption with healthy lifestyles.
There are more shebeens/taverns in residential communities than Churches, schools, clinics and recreational facilities combined – helping alcohol abuse become a leading cause of crime, violence, road deaths, health complications and tragically, the breakdown of the family.
In fact, the proliferation of shebeens and taverns in residential areas is a major contributor
to domestic violence and family dysfunction. Men typically run up debt at the local shebeen/tavern, often the first port of call after work, and prioritize it before domestic needs.
Family breakdown is the root cause of most social ills. Sadly, there is a lack of public policy aimed at protecting, strengthening and restoring the family, despite mountains of evidence indicating intact and stable families are indispensable to the health and welfare of nations.
Government is well aware of the destructive impact of unregulated liquor outlets in residential communities. In fact, Police Minister, Bheki Cele recently admitted shebeens/taverns are hotspots of criminality. The tragic deaths of over 40 people at taverns validate this claim.
Authorities often use the “economic” factor to justify its neglect of the social catastrophe of alcohol abuse in residential communities. They argue shebeens/taverns create income opportunities for people in low-income areas. But at what cost to human health and welfare?
Empirical research on the impact of shebeens or taverns in residential communities will conclusively prove it is a major contributor to family breakdown, crime, domestic violence, underage drinking, road deaths and health complications related to rampant alcohol abuse.
I sent President Ramaphosa a letter requesting he urgently review the proliferation of unregulated liquor outlets in residential communities – especially in light of recent events. I pray the Christian Church and civil-society will join the call for urgent state intervention.
I am urging government to initiate the process of shutting down unregulated shebeens and taverns in residential communities and strictly confine these outlets to business zoned areas where it can be monitored for regulatory compliance by authorities and law-enforcement.
Please continue to earnestly intercede for the peace of South Africa in faith and unity.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1