Western Cape Appropriation Bill: Vote 4 Department of Community Safety

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

12 March 2020
Chairperson: Mr R Allen (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to discuss Budget Vote 4 of the Department of Community Safety. The Committee heard that the Department had received a budget increase of 123.78%.  This translated into from R259 million in 2019-20, to R804 million in 2020-2021. The Department expressed their dedication to improving the safety of residences in this province which was the reason for such a drastic budget increase.

Members were concerned and asked for clarity as to why no mention was made of women regarding the VIP yet Gender-Based Violence was a prominent concern in this genre. Areas of vulnerability were of major concern to Members as they asked ‘if there has been further engagement with the police, more specifically on the re-distribution of police resources in order for the more vulnerable areas to receive greater attention and resource allocation’.

The Committee questioned the incapacity of Neighbourhood-Watch facilities; which sections of the Neighbour-Watch Programme were going to be strengthened specifically, what the cost for such strengthening would be; and for any progress on ensuring that the members of the Neighbourhood-Watch have life cover. School safety and security were also important issues on the agenda and Members asked where School Resource Officers (SRO's) will be stationed especially since R4.3 million has been allocated in this regard. Whether the Neighbourhood-Watch Information Management System has been developed and rolled out was also called into question. Still in the spirit of safety and security the Department was asked to provide clarity on the allocation of funds to the Canine Unit and the relationship this unit will have with the given municipalities and the role of the canine units and their relationship to the Highway Patrol Programme. The Department was asked about the situation which had developed where members of the Canine Unit joined the School Walking Bus Programme because those that joined the School Walking Bus Programme received R1400. Members asked for clarity on the Epic Programme being run in the City of Cape Town; the expansion of the Chrysalis Academy aiming to create youth hubs and camps, and how this was going to create greater involvement of youth.

Members raised concerns about the policing needs and priorities and asked if they could be kept up to date with those dates so that they could attend those meetings. The Committee expressed the desire to engage around a model for NGOs to better utilise the allocation of the funds given to NGO's and asked for a report to illustrate how NGO’s have utilised the given allocation of funds in a better way than compared to others. They then asked further what a “Youth Hub” would look like and how it would benefit the youth specifically. On the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership Programme issue, Members asked if once the process of choosing the programmes was complete, if the names of those chosen could be distributed so that they could visit the programmes and assess whether the funds were being used properly in a practical sense.

Members heard that R50 million was allocated to education, therefore, the School Risk Assessment Project created by the Department was used as a tool by the  Education Department to guide them in allocating to those schools most in need. On the Youth, Safety and Religious Projects Members heard that an independent assessment has been done which can be made available to the Committee, and more importantly the report expressed that the programmes were able to succeed in keeping many children off the street.

The under-resourced situation of the Ombudsman was noted by the Committee including the situation with Safety Kiosks. Members requested to be kept updated on the rollout of the programmes and campaigns, as it was their duty and responsibility to act as oversight mechanisms for the Department.  The Department was called upon to discuss its integrated approach to address the causative factors of crime. On fines and penalties Members asked if there was a more specific report on the total income determined from fines because the total given in the report showed fines added to the total entity revenue. Here Members heard that this was due to the current legislation which prevents the Department from investigating illegal outlets. Enforcement comes in the form of the explained fines, but this was a double-edged sword because the more fines given were seen as greater compliance by the major alcohol outlets

Meeting report

Opening remarks by the Chairperson

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Community Safety in the Western Cape, Mr Albert Fritz, who was asked to make introductory comments.

The Minister welcomed all his colleagues and members of staff. He stated that the Department of Community Safety’s budget has increased from R259 million in 2019-20, to R804 million in 2020-2021.   This is an increase of 123.78%, and he looked forward to dissecting and unpacking the total budget allocation today. As a provincial government, they are dedicated to improving the safety of residences in this province which is the reason for such a drastic increase. Having said this, he continued in stating that the Department's core legislative mandate and functions will continue as business as usual.

The Chairperson noted apologies from Ms A Bans (ANC). The Chairperson said that Members were at liberty to ask any questions given the opening remarks made by the Minister.

No questions or comments were received.

Briefing on the Western Cape Appropriation Bill – Budget Vote 4 Department of Community Safety  

Mr M Kama (ANC) raised an issue with regard to the Department’s responsibilities on the VIP. He noticed that one of the goals of the VIP is to reduce violence against youth and children but found no mention of women. In reading the document and reports he understood Gender-Based Violence to be a prominent concern and asked for clarity on why this was not mentioned.   

Mr Kama’s second concern was found on page 119. He asked if there has been further engagement with the police, more specifically on the re-distribution of police resources in order for the more vulnerable areas to receive greater attention and resource allocation.

His final question concerned the incapacity of Neighbourhood-Watches concerning the application processes. He asked what mechanism the Department is changing in order to better combat such incapacity.

Ms L Botha (DA) inquired as to which sections of the Neighbour-Watch Programme were going to be strengthened specifically, and asked further what the cost for such strengthening will be.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) asked whether there has been any progress on ensuring that the members of the Neighbourhood-Watch have life cover.

The Chairperson raised the issue of school safety and said that according to his understanding R4.3 million has been allocated for School Resource Officers (SRO's). He asked where such SRO's will be stationed, and if these will be placed in given hot-spots that would need the necessary attention. He asked further whether the Neighbourhood-Watch Information Management System has been developed and also rolled out.

The Chairperson finally asked for clarity on the allocation of funds to the Canine Unit and the relationship this unit will have with the given municipalities.

Mr Christians expressed concern over the large number of members leaving the on the allocation of funds to the Canine Unit and the relationship this unit will have with the given municipalities. Members of the Canine Unit joined the School Walking Bus Programme because those that joined the School Walking Bus received R1400. He asked if this has been a concern for the Department and how were they combating the loss of members in the programme. He then stated that given the large cost of having School Resource Officers he would like to venture a proposal that it might be cheaper to have the Neighbourhood-Watch members in those positions instead.

Responses

Mr Fritz responded to the issue raised on Gender-Based Violence raised by the Honourable Kama stating that VIP1 includes the Victim Empowerment Project and more specifically the Gender-based Violence Project that is championed by Minister Fernandez. The project focuses on women, and women with families and tackles such issues by creating a larger number of shelters around the Western Cape for these women. He continued by stating that VIP3 also has a focus on gender-based violence as can be observed in all the projects being rolled out in the given sector.

He further stated that the Provincial Commissioner of police made the point of better resource allocation. This has been a focus of theirs and will continue to be so for the remaining year.

Mr Fritz pointed out that there was a large space available for creative thinking on Neighbourhood-Watches and how it dealt with schools' safety. The Neighbourhood-Watch would be a greater benefit than that of private security and that this has been proven especially in the case of Montague Primary which has not been broken into in 11 years thanks to the hard work of the Neighbourhood Watch. This is an interesting model that can be created for the betterment of the Neighbourhood Watch Programme.   

On the issue of the Information System, he said that it has been rolled out. The system deals with the Neighbourhood-Watch members "going live" when they report for duty, and that it is able to record the member's position while they are "live." He then raised the issue of the Neighbourhood-Watch Programme versus the Walking Bus, and that all the members of the Walking Bus were Neighbour-Hood Watch members that joined for the added money that is given to them. These migration issues are not unique to one specific community, and some of the more dangerous areas are left without such protection, but the Department is tasked with combating these issues and will do so.

On the re-allocation of resources to more affected police stations Mr G Morris (HOD Community Safety) responded that this matter is before the court, and the Party has filed their affidavit to the Equity Court who are still mediating on how the resources must be allocated.

He stated further that there is an additional allocation of R9.5 million for the Neighbourhood-Watches which includes the communication system that will be linked to the hand-held devices to be used by the members.

On Programme 2 and 3 of Community Safety Advocate (Adv) Yashina Pillay answered the issue on the SRO’s and their allocation, stating that the SRO’s were allocated to priority schools that were identified between SAPS and the Department of Education. She stated that the specific names of the schools will be reported in the meeting once she is able to find them in the document.

In further answering Mr Kama's question Adv Pillay stated that the Department is working closely with the Provincial Commissioner of SAPS concerning the Safety Van-Operations in priority areas, and have been privy to the re-deployment to specific areas to supplement the given operations being done by the SAPS.

Mr Trevor Wingrove, Deputy Director: Western Cape Department Community Safety, responded to the issue on security and registration being raised by the Chairperson stating that there are strict requirements and provisions for the application process, yet there is a possibility of securing an exception by way of a motivation to the Minister.

He stated further that, in terms of the Canine Unit, there has been a division of the allocation of resources to the given municipalities being split into R 2.2 million, and R2.3 million respectively. The four municipalities receiving the allocation were Cape Town, Swartland, Malmesbury, and Hermanus.

Mr Morris stated that if the Department can succeed in the neighbourhood-watch programme, then they do not only have to concern themselves with the money available in their budget, but can include the R800 million that is being spent on security in all the other departments. The Department should be able to use the programme for other departmental events and use that given budget to compensate the members being used from the programme.

In answering the member's concerns over the allocation of resources on the Neighbourhood Watch programme, Mr Morris clarified that page 134 shows the amount allocated to NPOs which includes Neighbourhood Watches, and the already mentioned R4.3 million which is for the SPF projects.

The Chairperson then offered more questions for the first 10 pages.

Discussion

Mr G Bosman (DA) following up on the issue of the technology platforms that are provided asked to what extent it linked into the Epic Programme being run in the City of Cape Town.

Mr Kama asked a follow-up question concerning the canine units. He asked for clarification on the role of the canine units and their relationship to the Highway Patrol Programme.

His second issue concerned the expansion of the Chrysalis Academy where he asked for clarification on the expansion to create youth hubs and camps, and how this was going to create greater involvement of youth. 

The Chairperson requested that the Department engage better with the Committee in sending invites to projects and initiatives where Members could be part of and participate with the Youth of the given programmes.

He then asked if all the hubs have been identified and whether there will be funds allocated to assist with what the Department deems to be a Chrysalis Hub that is away from the main premises. And, he asked further if there has been a focus on the Over Strand area with regard to the Chrysalis Hub and if the Canine Unit is functional in that area.

The Chairperson raised concerns about the policing needs and priorities and asked if they could be kept up to date with those dates so that the Committee could attend those meetings.

He noted further that the application for the Youth, Safety and Religious Partnership Programme was ending soon and asked whether the Committee can engage around a model for NGOs to better utilise the allocation of the funds given to NGO's.

Ms Botha asked if the Department can furnish the Committee with a report to illustrate how NGO’s have utilised the given allocation of funds in a better way than compared to others. She then asked further what a “Youth Hub” would look like and how it would benefit the youth specifically.

The Chairperson, with regard to the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership Programme issue, asked that once the process of choosing the programmes was complete, if the names of those chosen could be distributed to Members so that they could visit the programmes and assess whether the funds were being used properly in a practical sense.

Mr Kama enquired about the deployment of SROs and the Department’s partnership with the City of Cape Town. He feared for the schools outside the city of Cape Town and wanted to be assured that these schools were not ignored or forgotten in the deployment process.

Mr Christians enquired into the relationship between the Department and the new Commissioner. He asked how the relationship will affect the law enforcement officers that will be trained and re-deployed to the affected areas.

Mr Christians stated that the Youth Safety and Religious Programme was created to get children off the street. These programmes do not have the funding or expertise to take the programme to the next level so he asked that additional funding be given to the programmes to benefit the children that they intend to help.

The Chairperson raised the example of Waves for Change as a programme which is doing impactful work for the youth, and who could do with that extra funding.

The Chairperson then allowed the Department to answer the questions raised.

Responses

Mr Fritz responded to the issue of the religious programmes stating that the given issues could relate to NGOs as well. The Department needs to focus on the impact and liabilities of these programmes. This is to develop the best model possible to be used as a basic template for all the projects and organisations.

He said that Mr Kama had raised an excellent issue on initiatives that remained in the metro and he believed that such projects can be tested among other parts of the province. The Department has fostered a good relationship with the district municipalities and believed it can expand programmes such as the SRO programme to other additional key performance areas, keeping in mind the broad APPs and other indicators.

Mr Fritz addressed the concerns over the Chrysalis Hub Programme, and stated that prior to the Programme the members that finished and graduated from the academy often remained unemployed. He asserted that the expansion of hubs will allow some of these graduates to use the expertise gained to become leaders in their chosen areas. 

Mr Morris responded to the question on the Epic programme clarifying that it does not run from a smartphone device but rather a handheld set. He stated that there is a committee addressing safety technology that the DG is the Chair of which has focused on supplying communication devices that can communicate inter-changeably between members. He avers that there has been a Neighbourhood-Watch desk set up at the Transport Management Centre (TMC), indicating that members remained in constant contact with emergency services should the need arise. He believed though that the closer the app is to the police system the better. Hence the police system has to be very effective in communication. 

In responding to the question of the Canine programme’s relationship with the Highway patrol, he stated that a core function of the canine units is to support the Way-Bridges. The canines smell large vehicles and trucks for any illegal substances. He further clarified that the dogs are bought already trained, and the dog-handlers are prepared with the trained dogs. These canine units have been established and rolled out in Cape Town, Swartland and Overstrand. The funding for such a unit can be seen in the given document for the allocation of resources over the next three years, which include the establishment of a Canine Unit Security Support Team in order to support members at larger events.

Adv Pillay stated that concerning the Chrysalis Programme Expansion, there will be sessions with educators and principles targeting 30 schools over the Western Cape Province to hold weekend camps for the students and youth around the given community. She further stated that the roll-out of the hubs will be a support base initiative for youth in communities around the Western Cape. The hubs will be run by the Chrysalis Academy graduates and will allow for an opportunity for the Chrysalis graduates to display their leadership potential and transfer some of the skills that they have developed in the academy.

Adv Pillay then further named the schools to which the SRO’s are deployed : Perseverance Secondary School, Arcadia Secondary School, Bonteheuwel Secondary School, St Andrew’s High school, Masibambisane Secondary School, Voorbrug Secondary School, Crystal High School, Heideveld Secondary School, Red River Primary School, Bulumko Secondary School, Joe Slovo Secondary School, Lavender-Hill High School, Hillwood Primary School, Levana Primary School, George  Primary School, and lastly Capricorn Primary School.

She responded to the issue raised on the SAPS regarding the allocation of resources. She stated that the Department was privy to sections of the information where the SAPS had re-allocated its resources to support the SAMDF deployment. Going forward the Law Enforcement deployment will be in partnership with the SAPS deployment for priority areas which have been jointly identified. This is to have maximum impact in the areas with high murder stations.

Mr Fritz added information on the SRO’s stating that the deployment is not permanent, and the SROs can be re-deployed to other areas where the need for them is higher. The danger areas are normally highlighted through School Risk Assessment, and the deployment of SROs can change accordingly.

On school safety Mr Morris responded that the funds must follow the function. The Department serves as an advisory service, and the R 50 million was allocated to education. Therefore, the School Risk Assessment Project created by the Department is used as a tool by the Education Department to guide them in allocating to those schools most in need. The Department may only advise and offer suggestions in this regard.

On the Youth, Safety and Religious Projects he responded that an independent assessment has been done which can be made available to the Committee. The report expressed that the programmes were able to succeed in keeping many children off the street, but an issue that is continually raised is security. He explained that it then becomes a balancing act, trying to provide funding for security without taking too much away from the project itself. He affirmed though that the programme has succeeded at its core objectives and has the potential for expansion. This includes the acquiring of youth leaders from the given churches to train and report on the given programmes.

Mr Morris lastly commented on the formal partnership that the Department has with the religious fraternity. The Department understands the influence the fraternity has in the given communities on safety and their footprint in the poorer communities. Therefore the question is now how the Department builds on that partnership that is worth over R21 million over the last three years.

Mr Christians commented on the R50 million that was allocated to Education stating that the Education Department always says contrary. He conveyed that Education gives the Department the responsibility of the safety of the school but does not allocate any of the given funding to aid the Department.  

Ms Botha suggested that the Department collects the funds into one large portion and then allocates accordingly to what the Department and the Committee deemed a successful programme. She clarified that this is to gauge the resources that may arise once the more desirable projects are decided upon, and whether some of the projects cannot be joined instead of working in silos.

Mr Fritz emphasised that the Department with the councillors, and the other departments and programmes such as the Neighbourhood Watch, are working together to solve the greater problems of the community. This given approach should be used to deal with the similarities in Mitchells Plain. He raises the example of Alpine Primary in Mitchells Plain where the school was broken into and the bathrooms were vandalized. He believed that a similar approach could only benefit the troubled community.

On the issue of Policing Needs and Priorities, the dates will be provided to the Committee, this will truly benefit Members. He stated further that the Members should be invited to other events and activities that the Department hosts to create a better understanding of the projects and programmes run.  

The Chairperson then registered a Point of Procedure; the Committee will move on to pages 130-140.

Discussion

Mr Christians enquired about the issue of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman; He commented on the high-level of expertise of the ombudsman given the presentation that was given to the Committee but raised concerns about appointments in specific areas. He stated that the Ombudsman should know how to speak the language in the area they were appointed in. This has not been conducted correctly as there are members in Xhosa speaking areas that do not speak the language.

He raises the issue that the Ombudsman is additionally under-resourced. The member who advertises and markets for the Ombudsman is alone without any support staff. 

Mr Kama asked for clarity on the allocation for the Safety Kiosks and where these kiosks will be distributed. He asked further where the Community Stabilisation Units could be found. Additionally, he requested that the Committee be given a briefing by the Premiere on his Safety Plan.

Mr Kama lastly requested that the Committee is kept updated on the rollout of these programmes and campaigns, as it is their duty and responsibility to act as oversight mechanisms for the Department.  He then asked for clarity on the training involved of the 1000 Law Enforcement Officials, and on the deployment of the first 500 officials.

Mr Christians raised concerns about the Safety Kiosk as while understanding that the goal of the Safety Kiosk was to create a safety zone for the community, it only runs at specific times and is managed by only one person. Hence it cannot be placed in danger areas as it runs the risk of being vandalised or the risk of being too great for one person. He therefore asked if the Safety Kiosk achieved its goals of being a safety zone.

The Chairperson responded to the Honourable Kama’s concerns about the Committee being an oversight mechanism, stating that he has been in discussion with the Chairpersons from other committees and even the Premiere to establish a Joint Oversight Committee. The cluster will then function as oversight over the programmes and projects developed.

The Chairperson commented on the allocation of resources to “research to inform stakeholders,” and asked if the Committee could be furnished with the list of research done by the Department in that regard.

The Chairperson latched onto Mr Kama's question asking if the Department can clarify how many investigators will be deployed in the given year and if they included the 1000 Enforcement Officers being deployed in the report.

Mr Morris responded to the Chair’s concerns about Policy and Research stating that the given research will be made available to the Committee. The research is broad-based and done throughout the Department but also concerns the issue of Gender-Base and Domestic Violence which has been prevalent in the country. Mr Morris clarified that the research is done by both individual Inspectors and academic research respectively.

He clarified further that the Wi-Fi kiosks are made in order to aid in specific events where an internet connection may be needed. These events included departmental events in the community, but also hot-spot areas where the Department can stay in contact with the community and community members can use Wi-Fi to contact the Department if there is any danger.

On the Safety Kiosks, they are better at combating adverse weather for the Official inside the kiosk and therefore it is better utilised in the winter than in the summer. He stated further that the Safety Kiosks are multi-purpose and can therefore be included in other programmes and projects for those who need it.

Mr Fritz added a practical example of where the Safety Kiosks were utilised, stating that in Klapmuts it was used as a safety zone for people who travel via trains in the early hours of the morning. The intervention was successful in that the crime rate in that area declined. This response to crime might not work in all areas obviously, but it can be used as an asset in other specific areas.

Mr Morris replied to the issues raised by the Honourable Christians on the Ombudsman. He responded that it was visibly an issue of allocation, but it can be seen in the report that they will receive a larger amount of resources this year going forward. A solution on supporting the communication and marketing system of the Ombudsman could be collaboration between the Department and the Ombudsman, as it would be too expensive for the Ombudsman to create their own financial unit. This was what made the Ombudsman affordable.

Mr Fritz responded to the issue of the 500 deployed enforcement officers and the Investigators stating that the Department has been questioning whether the deployment of investigators or officers would increase the conviction rate. He added that this was just about the 500 deployed and the deployment of investigators was required but under a collaborative effort with the National Department.

Adv Pillay finally added that the Department which includes the Ombudsman is going through rapid changes. This is due to the mass allocation of resources now given to the Department which will aid in the projects and programmes that are done throughout the Western Cape. Improvement will be seen across the board and more specifically, in the Wi-Fi linking kiosks around communities, the SROs given to the 16 schools, and the research done by both academic institutions and Inspectors.

Discussion

Mr Kama raised concerns about the Safety Plan and the integrated approach the Department is taking to address the causative factors of crime. The research the Department has done proved that alcohol was a contributing factor to common crimes in communities, and yet there has only been an increase of 0.4% in resources allocated to the Alcohol Authority Board.  

Mr Kama questioned the high increase in legal costs by the Department and wanted clarity on the sudden spike.

Lastly, he sought clarity on the hefty increase in the allocation of resources to computer services, asking if it relates to the increase in personnel.

Mr Christians asked if there has been an increase in the number of Inspectors for illegal alcohol vendors given the issues that have arisen. He asked further how the Department is combating the large number of illegal outlets being produced knowing that the illegal outlets are buying from the lawful outlets.

He then enquired as to what the penalties were for these illegal outlets. 

Mr Morris responded to the issue of the allocation of resources to the Liquor Authority stating that the Department does not have any influence over said allocation. The Department will be working with the authority on the resources available throughout the year but was unable to change the given allocations. The Department had ring-fenced allocations into not being more than the base amount so it was up to the Liquor Authority to work with the Department in creating better Liquor Reform Policies instead of receiving the allocation and working in a silo.

The spike in the legal costs was due to the review of the Liquor Act. The Department has put aside R1.2 million in order to acquire the expertise needed for the review to be successful.

On revenue on fines and other penalties Mr Morris responded that the issue was about efficiency, suggesting that partnerships with the given municipalities around the Western Cape should deal with the issues of inspecting illegal outlets rather than acquiring more inspectors.  In order for such a partnership to occur there needs to be a change in the legislation, where resources are re-allocated for the given inspections from the Liquor Board.

Mr Simion George, Chief Director: Security Risk Management, Western Cape Department of Community Safety, stated that the CI costs (costs related to computers, software and information technology) are like many of the services and support that was received from the DotP this being in terms of shared services from other departments around the province. In the service area specifically the Department requested additional man-hours to prioritise the development of IT systems. This required the additional R1.6 million which was transferred to the DotP for the services rendered to the Department.  

The Chairperson asked for clarification about whether the Game Changer Programme still exists.

Mr Morris stated that the programme does not exist as a stand-alone project anymore. The assets invested and what was learned from the programme needs to be institutionalised through legislative reforms and policy.

An official from the Department added to the subject of the Game Changer Programme stating that the programme was funded through additional allocations. There was a request by the Department to add the cost of the current three Inspectors to the baseline, and then in terms of the reduced resources it became a departmental priority.

He then stated that the fines given to the Department from the illegal outlets were reported and can be seen on page 149 as a sum separate from the entity revenue. This revenue is used to aid in the allocation and funding of numerous programmes and projects throughout the Western Cape.

The Chairperson asked if there was a more specific report on the total income determined from fines because the total given in the report showed fines added to the total entity revenue.

The official stated that Law Enforcement Officials focussed on the registered alcohol outlets; inspecting whether they were selling to illegal outlets. This is due to the current legislation which prevents the Department from investigating illegal outlets. Enforcement comes in the form of the explained fines, but this was a double-edged sword because the more fines given were seen as greater compliance by the major alcohol outlets. Compliance decreases the total entity revenue which is used to fund projects and programmes. Such a system became difficult to sustain so the Department therefore used a risk-based law enforcement approach to alcohol distribution. The Department therefore targets problematic areas, and if compliance increases in that given area, the Department will move to another area which the risk-based approach says needs attention. This is the current regulatory system which is used and allows for a more sustainable approach to enforcing the prevention of sales to illegal alcohol distributors.  

Mr Morris commented on the distribution model used by the industry. He stated that depending on the given community the ratio of legal to illegal alcohol distributors can be 3/20. The industry is therefore delivering to the legal outlets, and the legal outlets are intentionally selling to the illegal outlets. The Department targets these legal outlets as they are the distributers making the largest profit. Law enforcement does separate illegal distributors from the rest, but the process is frustrating because provincial law does not allow the law to take its course and confiscate the liquor if the distributor pays an admission of guilt fine. Such a law prevents the Department and enforcement from making an impact at street-level. 

Dr Laurine Platzky, DDG: Special Projects, Department of the Premier, stated that the Alcohol Harms Reduction White Paper was adopted by the Western Cape Cabinet in 2017. There has been a significant time-lapse in bringing a new bill or amendment to the legislature. This has to be the sole reason why the Western Cape Liquor Authority is unable to make an impact because the Liquor industry has enough resources to challenge any issues legally. She noted the approach by the Department to ring-fence the liquor authority and added that the authority was completely behind the VIP1. However if that was the approach of the Department she would like to appeal to them to double their minuscule Inspectorate to assist with this programme. These officials do not even need to be high-level members of the Inspectorate, but rather street-level officials that could aid the authority.

Mr Fritz stated that the R1.2 million seen in the report is a part of the allocation allowing for the Inspectorate. He questioned the liquor authority’s appeal for more resources because the authority could be self-sustainable through the implementation of sliding-scale licensing. This means charging smaller liquor outlets less than that of the larger liquor outlets, and vis-versa.

He commended Dr Platzky on her strong point about the Alcohol Harms Reduction Policy needing to be investigated with new policy and or amendments being thoroughly investigated and discussed.

Dr Platzky stated that the policies created and attempts made by the Liquor Board have the goal of being self-sustainable. The board however is constantly contained in how far they are able to adjust the price of the liquor license.  

Mr Christians stated that the Committee was told by the Department that the Liquor Authority would be self-sustainable – is this still the case?  

Mr Fritz stated that he was a part of the Executive who decided to reject the 13% increase and keep the CPI the same. His hands were tied in the meetings because he was not a part of the majority who rejected it.

The Chairperson concluded the discussion on the Liquor Authority and tabled the appeal

The floor was opened for any follow-up questions on the last pages of the report.

Mr Bosman asked if the person who pays the admission of guilt fine in order to receive their confiscated liquor license received a criminal record as well. 

Mr Morris stated that there was a criminal record of confiscation, but such a record does not make any impact on the regulation of liquor.

Mr Bosman asked if this record prevents people from obtaining a liquor license.

Mr Morris responded that this was not an issue, as they already do not have a license, and do not need one to buy the liquor from the larger outlets. The Chairperson declared that the meeting was ending on good note, with confidence that there was a healthier relationship amongst the Members.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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