Calls for community partnership to tackle underage drinking

In an address to the Hofmeyr community, MEC for the Eastern Cape Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Mlungisi Mvoko called for unity and collaboration among stakeholders to combat the pressing issue of underage drinking and other social problems troubling the area.

MEC Mvoko emphasised the need for the Hofmeyr community to rally together and establish partnerships with various stakeholders, including government and non-government structures.

“The objective is to create a unified front that can effectively combat underage drinking and take decisive action against liquor traders who flout trading conditions, causing mayhem within the community.

MEC Mvoko visited Hofmeyr on 27 December 2022 following the tragic deaths at the Razmatazz Tavern on 26 December 2022, where he reaffirmed the Eastern Cape Liquor Board’s (ECLB) commitment to raising awareness about the community’s role in regulating the local liquor industry. The recent visit, which occurred yesterday, 8 June 2023, fulfilled that commitment, with MEC Mvoko addressing a community session focused on combating underage drinking.

One of the critical concerns stemming from the Razmatazz incident is that the tavern was rented out to someone who had not been appointed as a manager. As a result, the tavern has been closed since the tragedy, pending the conclusion of investigations and legal proceedings.

Legal action has been taken against the owner and the individual who rented the outlet, with a court case underway.

The ECLB has reported that two of the five liquor outlets in the area are currently non-operational, including the Razmatazz Tavern.

Operational establishments are urged to strictly adhere to their licensing conditions and engage in responsible alcohol trade.

MEC Mvoko further responded to the community’s request for mobile government services, pledging to engage relevant offices and request them to coordinate services on wheels in the area.

The tragic Hofmeyr incident occurred a few months after the Enyobeni Tavern incident, which caused deep shock and devastation worldwide.