FEDHASA chase answers from DTI on ‘un-pragmatic’ Liquor Amendment Bill
The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) has called on the National Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to communicate openly with the hospitality industry around the status of the proposed Liquor Amendment Bill after the association raised some pertinent concerns around its implications.
Speaking at the Food and Hospitality Africa Seminar in Johannesburg, FEDHASA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said the industry is concerned about the unfavourable implications the amendment bill will have on the industry. He said FEDHASA has also not yet heard back from the DTI after the association highlighted the implications the bill is likely to have on the hospitality industry and the association’s suggested recommendations.
The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) has called on the National Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to communicate openly with the hospitality industry.
“As it is we don’t know where we stand and we need answers,” said Tshivhengwa.
The DTI has proposed changes to the National Liquor Act, in a bid to address the high level of alcohol abuse in the country. It’s believed South Africa has one of the highest rates of foetal alcohol syndrome and that alcohol abuse contributes to around 130 road deaths every day. The amendment bill seeks to prohibit liquor advertising on TV and radio between 6am and 7pm daily, proposes raising the legal liquor consumption age from 18 to 21 and seeks to prevent the sale of alcohol near schools, places of worship and rehabilitation and treatment centres.
But Tshivhengwa described the amendment bill as “un-pragmatic” and not “well thought-out.”
He said its list of changes, especially the one that relates to raising the legal alcohol consumption limit, will specifically affect hospitality establishments in towns with universities. And if passed, it also means many hotels, guest houses and B&Bs close to a park, beach or promenade and liquor stores in close proximity to a church or mosque would all be unable to secure a liquor licence. According to Tshivhengwa, the proposed bill will be tabled during a cabinet meeting in August.
He said FEDHASA recommended that the DTI implements a single national liquor act, a single provincial liquor act and a single bylaw that provides for the trading days and hours of on-and-off consumption liquor licence establishments, which can be enforced by all municipalities.
FEDHASA represents the interest of over 10 000 direct and associate members in the South African hospitality industry including hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, game lodges, restaurants, pubs, taverns, shebeens, conferences centres and casinos.
“The passing of this bill, as it stands will be monumentally disruptive to the industry. And at this stage feedback from the DTI is important,” said Tshivhengwa.
SAB launches two new initiatives to combat harm caused by alcohol abuse
The South African Breweries announced two new initiatives to address the harm caused by alcohol abuse through impactful programmes which drive behaviour change and raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse.
A new campaign, “Be Part of the Change”, further develops the SAB 18+ Be The Mentor campaign narrative which has been in place for three years, as it explains how adults across the spectrum can become involved in combating underage drinking.
In addition, SAB has committed to investing almost R40-million to improving conditions in township taverns in key provinces in South Africa, of which about R13-million will be invested in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). This investment will go towards improving infrastructure such as providing lighting, facilities and security.
Ricardo Tadeu, Zone President of Africa: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and SAB said the two initiatives were a critical part of the company’s drive to tackle the harmful use of alcohol.
“We believe everyone can be part of the change. The 18+ Be the Mentor campaign is about starting a movement which calls on everyone over the age of 18 in South Africa to take that first step and become a mentor – ‘Be Part of the Change’.
“And we are so pleased and honoured that the KwaZulu-Natal government has joined with us to improve conditions of taverns in townships through an important public private partnership.”
Speaking on behalf of the KZN Economic Development and Tourism Department, Mbali Myeni, Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Board, said: “Our government remains deeply concerned by the problems of alcohol abuse and accepts responsibility to make every effort to reduce alcohol-related harm.
“I believe that no single action is likely to reduce alcohol abuse problems, but rather a mix of self-regulation, the enforcement of existing laws governing sale and consumption, and targeted interventions like the ones that SA Breweries has initiated, combined with individuals taking personal responsibility for their drinking choices.”
The two initiatives were launched at an event in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, where members of the community, government, liquor traders as well as mentors and mentees gathered.
In a pilot programme run last year by SAB on the 18+ campaign, 80 adults who volunteered to mentor more than 180 youngsters effected a 92% reduction in stopping or preventing underage drinking. In addition, more than 7 000 South Africans have taken the pledge to be a mentor to someone in their family or community.
The new campaign seeks to build on the successful impact of the pilot programme: “Ultimately we want people in communities, in civil society, in business, those who have jobs and those who don’t, those who are students and those who are retired, to come forward and start a movement to become a mentor; to recognise that everyone has the potential and ability to be a mentor,” said Tadeu.
Being a mentor is about having a positive influence on a young person and helping guide them through the challenges presented by everyday life.
“This could involve giving someone advice, talking about how to avoid peer pressure, sharing your own experiences and mistakes you wish you had not made and how you managed them, or getting them to understand why they should not drink before they are 18,” he said.
The upweighted approach uses past mentors as inspiration for potential new mentors by showing them how easy and rewarding it can be. The new campaign will use online documentaries of SAB appointed mentors from around the country, telling the stories of these everyday people and how they realised they could influence youngsters and play their part. It will also use radio, TV as well as large-scale murals to pay tribute to the mentors and inspire others to get involved.
SAB will sign up about 500 volunteer mentors in five provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and the Free State – and give them training and support. “We believe they will be able to mentor at least 1000 youngsters as a first step. We know that by stopping or preventing underage drinking, we will create a positive change in communities. And this is just the start of a movement that will grow over time.”
At the event, the partnership between SAB and the KZN Economic Development and Tourism Department was announced, whereby the two parties have partnered to meet SAB’s commitment to invest R13-million into the province to improve township taverns.
This is the first such partnership to officially get under way, out of the almost R40-million that will be invested into the infrastructure of townships taverns in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape, to ensure that patrons are safe and secure.
Ms Myeni said: “I am particularly encouraged by this partnership on township taverns with South African Breweries. The partnership augurs well for the future and it is critical that this relationship is maintained and sustained.”
This money will be spent on developing infrastructure such as male and female toilets and improved lighting. Part of making taverns safe and secure is about supporting taverners so that they don’t sell to pregnant women, those under the age of 18, people who have had too much to drink and ensuring people who are over the limit don’t drive.
“Tavern owners will also receive training in business skills, which will help promote economic development and tourism in Durban,” Tadeu said.
“Smart drinking choices affect everyone, every day. Through initiatives like 18+ and the tavern intervention programme, SAB is committed to helping foster a global culture of smart drinking to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.”
Courtesy of SAB, www.sabstories.co.za