The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) is calling on BP (British Petroleum) to immediately suspend its plans to sell alcohol at its fuel stations.
On Wednesday the alliance handed over a memorandum at the petroleum company’s Johannesburg head office. It is a collaboration of civil society organisations that calls for evidence-based alcohol policy development and implementation in Southern Africa.
In June 2021, BP and Pick n Pay Express were issued a grocer’s licence, which allows them to sell wine in Joburg, the first such licence in South Africa. The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance said selling wine at fuel stations could possibly contribute to and even exacerbate alcohol abuse.
Director Maurice Smithers said that, in particular, they were worried about the impact it would have on driving under the influence incidences in South Africa.
“We are concerned about the potential trend towards getting liquor licences at petrol stations and there were further applications for many such licences for Gauteng and the Western Cape.”
According to Smithers, they’ve already called on all Provincial Liquor Authorities to implement an immediate moratorium on the awarding of such licenses.
In August last year, a study released by the South African Medical Research Council and the Road Traffic Management Corporation said that over 27% of all accidents in the country were caused by people driving under the influence of alcohol.
The report titled Driver intoxication and fatal crashes showed that drunk driving was estimated to cost the local economy R18.2 billion annually. It also determined that 55% of fatal crashes happened at night and about three out of five happened over the weekends.
Smithers said alcohol harm in general costs South Africa R38 billion a year.