Port Elizabeth – The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, says government alone cannot win the war against liquor and drug abuse.
“Members of community, as well as liquor traders and distributors must join forces with government in order to combat the scourge of alcohol and drug abuse that is plaguing the country,” Thabethe said.
Thabethe was speaking in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth on Friday during the launch of the third annual Sobriety Week, a national campaign aimed at creating awareness to the general South African public, particularly the youth, women and pregnant women about the adverse effects of liquor abuse.
She told the communities that government needs communities that will make it their business that their children are protected from exposure and access to liquor by other persons including themselves.
“We need adults that will take responsibility of parenting and setting good example through responsible conduct like not making liquor accessible to children during the festivities,” said Thabethe.
She added that government would like to see the liquor industry coming on board to alleviate the negative socio-economic effects that the abuse of liquor have in the country.
“We need liquor traders to comply with the conditions of their licences. We need them to understand that business is not only about profits, but they have a responsibility towards all South Africans.
“Liquor must not be distributed to retailers that are not registered and it must not be sold to children and pregnant women. We need business to take the moral stand not to make profit at the expense of children because they are killing our future,” she said.
Thabethe noted that government recognised challenges faced by communities such as unemployment which result in people using and abusing liquor. She encouraged residents to go out and seek information about how they can actively participate in the economy of the country instead of resorting to liquor.
“The more than R39 billion that government spends annually on cases related to alcohol such as accidents caused by drunk driving could be utilised to create more jobs, particularly for the young people and to better the lives of all South Africans.”
Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Councillor Ben Fihla, said liquor abuse was causing havoc on families, communities and the South African nation in general.
The Sobriety Week incorporates the International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day which is being observed internationally on September 9 every year to highlight the irreversible damage that is caused to unborn babies when their mothers consume alcohol during pregnancy.
The department will tomorrow [09 September] host an information-sharing workshop in East London as part of the observation of the FAS Day. – SAnews.gov.za
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