Taverners and bottle store owners will participate in promoting responsible liquor trading and alcohol consumption in the province.
SA Breweries is training about 1000 businessmen in the liquor industry to lead in community awareness programmes. Most of these traders come from Port Alfred, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and Alexandria where alcohol abuse has led to increased levels of crime, violence and HIV infection especially among the youth.
One of the NGOs in Port Elizabeth, Ubuntu Education Fund, has identified taverns and shebeens as places to help spread the message of safe sex and responsible drinking. “Most of the crimes like rape, robbery, car hijacking and murder are connected to alcohol abuse,” Ubuntu director Banks Gwaxula said.
SAB would train 10 000 taverners especially from townships and informal settlements this year. Company executive director for corporate affairs Vincent Maphai said these traders would act as the “powerful force” in the fight against the harm alcohol abuse caused. About R100m would be spent in the mass education of these traders.
Maphai said irresponsible traders faced serious consequences for their behaviour including the potential loss of their liquor licenses or being driven out of business. Some of the shebeens in townships where murder or rape had occurred had been forced by residents to close down.
SAB has entered into a partnership with the department of economic development and tourism in the province to raise awareness about irresponsible drinking.