Alcohol programme launched: NGO, EC Liquor Board collaborate to educate about dangers of abuse
The fight against under-age drinking, foetal alcohol syndrome and the scourge of illegal traders in various communities across the Eastern Cape have led to the formation of an alcohol harm reduction programme launched in Buffalo City Metro on Tuesday.
Launching the first phase of the programme at the East London Golf Course, was Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) CEO Ingrid Louw, who said the programme is a collaboration between the non-profit organisation and the Eastern Cape Liquor Board.
According to Louw, the aim of the programme is to educate consumers, parents and children about the dangers of alcohol use, provide training, support and mentorship to traders with regards to liquor laws and how to operate within these laws and to try and build better relations with stakeholders.
Louw said the programme forms part of a R20m partnership with liquor boards in various provinces, with R6m of this to be spent on educational programmes in the Eastern Cape alone.
“We, together with the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, want to build a culture of responsible alcohol consumption in SA,” she said, adding that “this shared vision makes it possible to address the fight against alcohol use and misuse”.
This requires a collective effort and to achieve this change, we need the support of the community at large.
“This requires a collective effort and to achieve this change, we need the support of the community at large.”
Eastern Cape Liquor Board CEO Khanyile Maneli said the selling of homemade concoctions within communities is another issue the board is battling.
“We recently visited Middelburg in the Chris Hani District Municipality where we confiscated more than 2,000 litres of homemade beer. We were stunned by the extent people in that community have become so addicted to this concoction, so much so that many say they cannot live without it.
“This is a manifestation of the extent of the danger the unregulated liquor industry can pose to the wellbeing of our people,” he said.
Speaking at the event, BCM mayor Xola Pakati said the metro was keen to be part of the programme due to the high number of illegal liquor outlets in the city.
“These outlets continue to be sites for the proliferation of delinquent conduct in our city,” Pakati said.
“This is a month where we are supposed to be celebrating our women as a nation, but sadly it is a month where we are conducting various campaigns aimed at fighting gender-based violence. There is a rise in the cases of gender-based violence in our country and many acts of femicide.
“There is no denying that this is caused by various backwards and patriarchal tendencies by many men in our country.
“The other reality is that many acts of gender-based violence are committed in situations of alcohol abuse. This is not a scapegoat, but I just wanted to highlight how alcohol can contribute to an increase in these incidents.”
Welcoming the programme, is Eastern Cape Liquor Forum president Bafo Tola and economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Oscar Mabuyane.