Citizen Reporter
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3 minute read
20 Dec 2021
1:22 pm

Alcohol sector donates R6 million to help cops catch drunk, reckless drivers

Citizen Reporter

The alcohol sector is helping law enforcement beef-up measures to deal with the problem of drinking and driving.

Drunk young man drives a car with a bottle of beer with sunset background. Picture: iStock

The South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA) has donated R6 million to traffic enforcement agencies, to help fund roadblocks this festive season.

Salba handed over nine mobile Alcohol Evidence Centres (AECs), 200 breathalysers, Personal Protective Equipment consumables, and other equipment totalling R6 million to traffic enforcement.

Every year, police services and traffic agencies work overtime in a bid to reduce festive season carnage on our roads.

This year the alcohol sector is helping law enforcement beef-up measures to screen and collect the necessary evidence to successfully deal with the problem of drinking and driving.

“The total value of the contribution – AECs with PPE, consumables and equipment – is roughly R6 million. Since 2017, the industry has invested R59 million in the collaboration between Aware.org and RTMC in tackling the misuse of alcohol,” said SALBA Chairperson Pamela Nkuna.

This year the focus is on the five provinces that contribute to 80% of road fatalities (Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga).

Has Covid forced the alcohol sector to take more responsibility for its customers?

The Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the alcohol sector in South Africa, with four bans wiping off R65 billion from the country’s GDP, and threatening hundreds of livelihoods in the value chain.

One of the main reasons behind the government’s alcohol bans is the added pressure on hospitals, due to liquor-induced injuries clogging up the country’s emergency rooms.

Also Read: Liquor body to resume paying Sars after three-month reprieve

As long as the country’s health sector is under strain from the pandemic, the alcohol industry has to do more to address problems associated with irresponsible consumption of their products – if it wants to avoid further bans.

To that end, the alcohol sector has stepped up its support of road safety initiatives during the festive season.

“This season, the primary focus will be on drinking and driving/walking,” said Nkuna.

This year’s deployment, launched last week, involved further partnering with the National Traffic Police, working with Provincial liquor enforcement.

According to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA), driving under the influence and speeding remains the biggest threat to road safety in our country.

“It is important to understand that drinking responsibly means that even what you may think of as a ‘small drink’ – like more than two normal glasses of beer or more than a single shot of hard liquor – will probably put you over the limit,” she said.

To assist law enforcement in their task, 750 community patrollers, instrumental earlier on in encouraging compliance with Covid-19 regulations at an outlet level, would now also promote pedestrian safety as far as it relates to drinking and walking.

“SALBA encourages people to drink responsibly and travel safely during this festive season,” she added. “Such behaviour will play an important role in rebuilding our economy through the survival and growth of our local tourism and hospitality sectors – essential parts of our value chain.”

(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)

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