The KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority (KZNLA) collaborated with key stakeholders for a school outreach programme called “Children with a Future Don’t Drink”, to raise awareness about the detrimental impact of underage drinking on pupils.
As part of the programme’s efforts to address socio-economic challenges caused by alcohol abuse, the KZNLA took the initiative to a school in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban, and also donated 34 uniforms and school shoes.
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According to the KZNLA, Vikingozi Secondary School was chosen as one of this year’s beneficiaries of the school visit programme due to the prevalence of socio-economic difficulties faced by its pupils.
“The school has 633 pupils, and the school is confronted with an array of social ills such as teenage pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse, and poverty.
“The KZN Liquor Licensing Act 06 of 2010 places significant importance on the authority’s duty to implement measures aimed at reducing the socio-economic and other effects of alcohol abuse. Moreover, it emphasises the promotion of a responsible and sustainable retail and micro-manufacturing liquor industry that actively embraces social responsibility,” said acting KZNLA CEO Bheki Mbanjwa.
Mbanjwa said the purpose of this initiative was to collaborate closely with pupils, school staff, key stakeholders and the community to promote a responsible and sustainable liquor industry that fosters social responsibility.
“The programme provides support, education and awareness to underprivileged learners, specifically addressing challenges such as teenage pregnancy and drug abuse. The goal of the programme is to shape the future of the pupils.”
Addressing the school, the KZNLA chairperson, Mbali Myeni, said parental involvement in such programmes was vital as parents played a key role in their children’s exposure to alcohol. She acknowledged that operating liquor outlets was a means of livelihood for many, and it aligns with the liquor authority’s purpose of enhancing licence accessibility in the province.
However, she urged all licence holders not to forget their sense of responsibility to the community and the regulations that come with those licenses. Myeni also urged the pupils to prioritise their studies over alcohol.
It is of utmost importance to make informed choices that will positively shape your future. While the allure of experimenting with alcohol may be tempting, it is crucial to fully comprehend the risks involved
Myeni strongly condemned the prevalent “pens down” culture after examinations, adding that this will help to prevent tragic incidents like the Enyobeni Tavern incident where 21 underage pupils died while partying.
A toxicology report into the deaths suggested they suffocated due to overcrowding. “I implore you to reflect upon the long-term effects and potential harm that alcohol abuse can inflict. Instead, redirect your focus towards your goals, aspirations and the construction of a vibrant future,” said Myeni.