The challenges with the prevalence of alcohol abuse in communities are bittersweet because they have been long-standing and they show signs that they are worsening, but on the other hand, the liquor industry cannot be condemned in its entirety seeing that it contributes 4.4% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is these factors that have given birth to the national campaign to ensure that the harmful effects of alcohol abuse are reversed and to appeal to traders to operate within the confines of the laws that govern the industry. This was said by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, during a liquor awareness and enforcement campaign launch which took place in Mgezwa Village, Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.

Gina highlighted that alcohol consumption was not really the biggest challenge, but that binge drinking was having an adverse effect on the country’s fiscus.

“I often wonder where we have gone wrong as a country because we are now faced with a situation where our youth are accessing alcohol freely. What is the driving force behind this destruction and when did we lose our moral compass as a nation. Have our traders become so obsessed with making profit that they are even prepared to sell to minors all for a big payday. It is incumbent upon ourselves to do something about this problem and I hope that after today this community will be better informed regarding this problem,” she said.

According to Gina, national alcohol consumption statistics indicate that on spirits the Eastern Cape consumes 36% of the national percentage, on wines 26% is consumed and on beer 54% is consumed.

“What these statistics indicate is that we are sitting on a situation which can be catastrophic when not attended to urgently. We need to normalise speaking to youngsters as parents, show them the dangers of alcohol abuse on communities and advocate for a mindset change regarding alcohol abuse. Responsible alcohol consumption and trade will save the country 32% of the GDP which is lost yearly through Road Accident Fund claims, car crashes, domestic abuse  and crime,” said Gina.

The campaign will be rolled out to three more provinces, namely Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. Build-up sessions to disseminate information will be hosted in partnership with three other provincial liquor authorities and key stakeholders.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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