Eastern Cape Liquor Board Embarks on an Anti-Alcohol Abuse Awareness Campaign
The Eastern Cape Liquor Board, in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Department of Education, Department of Health, Social Development, Department of Safety, SAPS/CPFs, SANCA, ward councillors, community leaders and traditional leaders embarked on a campaign to educate and bring awareness to communities about the issues of alcohol abuse.
The Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) is honouring its mandate to manage and reduce the socio-economic effects of excessive use of liquor by our Eastern Cape communities through this initiative and other programmes already in place.
The pilot project started at OR Tambo District earlier last year, at Cicirha Great Place. All residents from villages under Cicirha were invited to attend the event and were interactively involved in the day. ECLB key stakeholders delivered messages on programmes around alcohol abuse in their respective institutions. The keynote address was delivered by the Eastern Cape Liquor Board focusing on community participation in liquor licensing and raising awareness of the effects of an excessive use of alcohol.
The second leg of this campaign targeted the Chris Hani District in Queenstown (Ezibeleni). About 500 community members and school youths attended this interactive event held in September last year. As happened in Cicirha, there were messages from different stakeholders and this time, the keynote address was delivered by ECLB CEO Gonza Mati. A question and answer session was held following the presentations to allow the community to interact with the stakeholders and the ECLB.
Another awareness campaign on alcohol abuse was carried out in the Amathole District, in Mdantsane, on December 1, World Aids Day, last year. Key stakeholders delivered presentations on alcohol abuse-related issues. The community was given a platform to voice their frustrations around the issue of alcohol abuse and were able to engage with officials as per their presentations. The Mdantsane community welcomed this initiative and applauded the Eastern Cape Liquor Board for this information sharing event.
The last leg of these awareness campaigns for the 2011/12 financial year was held at the Nelson Mandela Metro in Motherwell on March 2 this year. Planning sessions were held with ECLB key partners – the departments of Social Development, Health, Education, Transport and Agriculture, as well as SA Breweries. These planning sessions looked at the role each organisation plays in the liquor industry and looked at integrated initiatives to combat the prevalence of alcohol abuse.
As a result, both mainstream and community radio stations (Nkqubela FM and Umhlobo Wenene) in the area gave valuable airtime over to the ECLB’s Alcohol Abuse Awareness Campaign.
On the actual day of the event departments like Social Services and Health brought along their social workers and mobile clinics for members of the community needing their services.
The departments of Education, Social Development, Health, Transport as well as SANCA, presented their programmes aimed at sensitising communities to be responsible in their approach to alcohol consumption. Exhibition stalls featuring information brochures were erected and these information brochures were distributed to the community.
Alcohol abuse continues to be a dilemma in our society and there are social and economic impacts attached to this. The Eastern Cape Liquor Board is encouraging communities to stand together in this fight against alcohol abuse. This initiative will capacitate, bring awareness and solutions to this behaviour which has become socially accepted in communities.
In accelerating its effort in the fight against alcohol abuse in Eastern Cape communities, the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, in collaboration with its key stakeholders, plans to continue this venture which will be stretched to other districts within the Eastern Cape.
Let us all be responsible and build healthy societies.