Liquor campaign to raise awareness of social ills

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bloemfontein - The Department of Trade and Industry is to launch its annual national liquor campaign which aims to raise awareness of the social ills that come with alcohol abuse.

The National Liquor Regulators' Forum (NLRF) Awareness Campaign, which will be launched on Monday by Minister Rob Davies, is themed "Empowering the communities on their rights and duties with regards to liquor regulation".

The campaign encourages civil society to play a leading role in curbing the effects of socio-economic problems as well as promotes voluntary compliance within the liquor industry.

Department's Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division Deputy Director-General, Zodwa Ntuli said this year's campaign entails a series of awareness and education-related activities, which will be rolled-out by the provinces from now, through to 2010, as the country prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

She said the department believes that empowering communities, including civil society structures with regards to the prescripts of liquor legislation, will encourage them to play an active role in liquor regulation.

"It will also go a long way towards supporting the objective of both provincial and national liquor legislation to develop a responsible and sustainable liquor industry and reduce the socio-economic costs of alcohol abuse.

"Alcohol abuse is undoubtedly the cause of many problems in communities and we need a strong partnership with civil society to minimise this," said Ntuli.

According to the Health 24 website, 10-15 percent of all populations fall into the trap of alcohol dependence, while 30-40 percent of persons with alcohol related disorders meet diagnostic criteria of major depression.

"Depression is more common in alcohol dependent women than men and most successful suicides are carried out under the influence of alcohol."

Ntuli also noted that civil society was well positioned to play a meaningful role in various ways, such as commenting on applications for retail liquor licences.

They can also monitor the manner in which liquor licensed outlets conduct their business and report any activities deemed to be illegal, including the operation of unlicensed liquor outlets/businesses.

The campaign will take place under the support of the NLRF, a national structure comprising of liquor regulators from the national and provincial spheres of government, as well as the South African Police Service.