Anti-alcohol campaign to create awareness ahead of festive season

The Deputy Ministers of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina and Fikile Majola, will on Monday launch the National Anti-alcohol and Substance abuse campaign at the Namakwa District Municipality Council Chamber in Springbok, Northern Cape.

The national campaign is aimed at educating the country’s citizens about the adverse effects of alcohol and substance abuse, particularly during the festive season.

“Every year the festive season sees the escalation of alcohol consumption with binge drinking among young people reaching dangerously high rates.

“Alcohol is one of the social ills that draws our communities back, ravages family structures, perpetuates gender-based violence (GBV), and also contributes to job losses and fatal accidents. As we strive to build the economy and create jobs, we need to eradicate alcohol and substance abuse while intensifying skills development,” said Gina.

The Executive Mayor of Namakwa District Municipality, Councillor, Mervin Cloete, and MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Galerekwe Mase Manopole, will join the two Deputy Ministers at the launch on Monday.

The theme of the campaign is “Combating Alcohol Abuse is Everybody’s Business”.

Gina is also the Champion of the District Development Model for the Namakwa District Municipality.

Gina said the launch will also be used to highlight the scourge of gender-based violence during this period of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

The annual national campaign is more important this year as the COVID-19 pandemic requires all of the country’s citizens to seriously observe protocols such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing their hands consistently.

“We are in the middle of a dangerous and deadly pandemic that has had a devastating socio-economic impact on the country.

“It is therefore important for us as government to increase efforts aimed at warning our people against alcohol and substance abuse, as well as create awareness about the danger of lowering their guards by ignoring protocols and participating in gatherings such as parties and drinking sprees that have been confirmed to be super spreaders of the COVID-19 virus,” Gina said.

She said the festive season is a time when most members of the public, particularly young people, consume alcohol excessively and irresponsibly under the pretext of having fun and celebrating.

“Unfortunately, this is the time of the year in which many people will die as a result of road accidents and various forms of violence and alcohol abuse will be common denominator in these incidents.

“It is also unfortunate that COVID-19 infections will also increase in situations where people gather in large numbers and ignore protocols such as social distancing and wearing of masks.

“We believe that the national campaign will go a long way in contributing to the decrease of alcohol and substance abuse in the country and result in people enjoying their festive season together with their families without any casualties and without spreading the COVID-19 virus which will lead to the country battling with the second wave next year,” she said.

The campaign will also be used as a platform to convey messages to liquor traders who are prone to contravening their licencing conditions during this time of the year by exceeding their trading hours and selling alcohol to minors and to already intoxicated people.

After the launch, the national, provincial and local leadership will interact with members of the community of Springbok during a walk-about aimed at spreading the message of responsible alcohol consumption during the festive season and promoting adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Gina will also visit the Khai-Ma and Namakhoi local municipalities on Tuesday to distribute Christmas hampers to needy members of the community. – SAnews.gov.za

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