DGMT allowed to present evidence in a high court case about liquor trading hours

The DG Murray Trust (DGMT) has been admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in a high court case that could set the tone for how provincial governments prevent alcohol-related harms.

The Limpopo Liquor Board and the provincial Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism have been taken to task by the Sekhukhune Liquor Traders Association and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for introducing regulations that restrict alcohol trading hours to midnight.

As part of DGMT’s Alcohol Harms Reduction Campaign, we advocate for policy reforms that are shown to reduce the public health, economic and social burden of heavy and binge drinking.

The Alcohol Harms Reduction Campaign’s fight is not against all alcohol consumption; it is against industry and societal practices that promote excessive drinking.

In this regard, DGMT’s position aligns with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Best Buys, which are evidence-based, cost-effective interventions aimed at curtailing binge and heavy drinking.

The WHO recommends reducing the availability of alcohol by limiting the density of liquor outlets, implementing shorter trading hours, and ending the sale of alcohol in larger containers.

This is precisely what the Limpopo Liquor Board is trying to do with the introduction of the new Limpopo Liquor Act by instituting a curfew for traders.

As amicus curiae, DGMT is allowed to submit written and oral submissions to the Limpopo High Court in support of limited trading hours.

Over the years, DGMT has commissioned research and worked closely with subject experts to ensure its proposals are based on sound evidence and economic modelling.

“Civil society is willing and ready to bring information, research and resources to the courts’ attention so that they can make evidence-based decisions in cases seeking to undermine alcohol regulation,” says Stephen Harrison, the attorney representing DGMT in the matter.

“This development places DGMT at the forefront of influencing positive change in alcohol regulation and to ensure laws are robust and implementable”, Harrison explains.

DGMT remains committed to its role in advocating for alcohol harms reduction and utilising legal avenues, when necessary, to advance initiatives that promote public safety and well-being.

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