A partnership programme between the South African alcohol industry and the Eastern Cape government is in full swing to address enforcing compliance with covid-19 regulations in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB).
During Mzansi’s televised family meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa last night, the NMB was flagged as a covid-19 hotspot. The president called for collaborative efforts with all stakeholders, including the liquor industry, and said that targeted interventions were needed.
As a result, aalcohol sales from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10:00 and 18:00, from Monday to Thursday while alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden.
Responding the president’s address, Sibani Mngadi, chairman of the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA), said the alcohol industry was already working together with Eastern Cape government, with a specific focus on NMB.
Community patrollers deployed
“The industry has already committed to train and deploy 80 community patrollers in eight police stations (10 patrollers per station) in the hotspots areas in the province. Working together with the SAPS and community policing forums, the patrollers will ensure compliance with the regulations in alcohol outlets in the catchment areas of the selected police stations,” Mngadi said.
Also, in support of the health system response, the alcohol industry is providing medical supplies, including PPEs to the value of R30 million to the province.
“We… support measures to raise community awareness and provide sanitizers and masks in areas around the NMB metro. We are planning to honour this request in the coming week,” Mngadi confirmed.
A partnership programme has already been stablished between the industry and the community policing forums.
The programme promises to address enforcing compliance from the liquor outlets around covid-19 safety protocols, licencing conditions, gender-based violence, femicide risks and pedestrian fatalities.
‘Serious call to alcohol outlets’
Mngadi adds, “We respect the government’s rational and measured response to the increases in the number of cases in various hot spots. We echo the president’s call to remain vigilant.”
They are urging alcohol outlets to adhere to the government’s covid-19 regulations. These include insisting on masks, maintaining social distancing, obeying the curfew hours and regular sanitising. The same goes for customers, Mngadi said.
Furthermore, the alcohol industry is seeking a social compact with the state, industry, and civil society.
They want to ensure a continuation of the sector’s vital economic activity, save businesses and jobs while ensuring its workers’ safety, promote responsible trading and the sensible consumption of alcohol.
Already, it has committed R150 million to reduce the incidence of binge drinking, drinking and driving, underage drinking and gender-based violence.