Unite against alcohol abuse

Last week saw the resurgence of the debate around young people abusing liquor. This was as a consequence of the ANCYL's call to ban alcohol trading on Sundays.

Last week saw the resurgence of the debate around young people abusing liquor. This was as a consequence of the ANCYL's call to ban alcohol trading on Sundays.

Our country is facing a liquor abuse scourge by our young people. This phenomenon is underpinned and sustained by an industry that targets young people at tertiary institutions by sponsoring functions and advertisements that show young people enjoying drinking themselves silly.

Some youth even boast about their excessive drinking. If unchecked, they will become alcoholics and that is when social problems start.

Since last year, the Young Communist League has led the campaign after carrying out research on the ground about the necessity to remove shebeens and taverns near schools.

We are urging government, communities, traditional leaders and all other social establishments with authority to join us in this drive.

Our experience shows that schools are not safe and that alcohol accounts for 80percent of the bad behaviour.

We met the South African Liquor Traders Association (Salta) and various provincial liquor boards to look into possibilities of redefining the Liquor Act in relation to pupils and the proximity of shebeens to schools.

The biggest revolution that we have to confront as youth organisations is our engagement with the industry in its aggressive targeting of the youth as a niche market.

We need the industry to invest on sustained community education about the dangers of alcohol abuse and the encouragement of responsible drinking.

There is a need for the amendment of the Liquor Act, to ban taverns near schools and in tertiary institutions.

There should be heavy penalties for bottlestore, tavern and shebeen owners selling liquor to minors.

This demands a collective undertaking by all stakeholders.

Liquor destroys families. Young people should be educated on the dangers of alcohol and they must be discouraged from abusing alcohol.

Khaye Nkwanyana, Young Communist League, Johannesburg

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