Organisation committed to fight against alcohol harm, misuse

Aware.org’s rtf programme out to create safer, compliant liquor outlets

A resident makes her way past popular tavern Ndosi in Nahoon Valley Road in Southernwood.
A resident makes her way past popular tavern Ndosi in Nahoon Valley Road in Southernwood.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

The SA alcohol industry has gone through a serious period of reflection with regards to responsible trade during Covid-19. The sector is forced to re-look and reinforce continued and consistent responsible trading.

The industry is faced with challenges that are compelling it to strengthen its trading regulations in the fight against the scourge of alcohol abuse and misuse.

More emphasis has been placed on encouraging liquor traders not to serve anyone under the age of 18, discourage binge drinking, avoid serving alcohol to intoxicated customers. SA has a wide alcohol trading market that includes well-known taverns which have carried villages and townships for decades. This market is said to be producing billions of rand in revenue per annum.

This business market forms part of the booming township hospitality market which also plays a significant role in supporting township and village livelihoods.

These are key players that need to work closely with organisations such as the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org), to ensure compliance as well as putting in place responsible practices and forms of behaviour to trade responsibly, ensuring that they protect the livelihoods of thousands of people who are dependent on the market while safeguarding their businesses.

Aware.org’s Responsible Trade Facilitation (rtf) programme was implemented through strategic partnerships with the provincial liquor authorities in four provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, the Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga since 2018.

The programme aims to create a balance between compliance, the development of a responsible and sustainable liquor trade using pro-active interventions and support programmes. The programme has benefited about 1,445 outlets in the last two years.

The rtf has been influential in providing developmental solutions in the rural alcohol trading market. The overall objective of the rtf is to ensure that the industry function in a more responsible and regulated manner, as well as ensuring responsible socio-economic development.

It also aims to educate consumers about the dangers of alcohol use and misuse, and the risks related to underage drinking, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and binge drinking which is conducted through engagements with the patrons. Rtf programme further contributes to the local economy by creating job opportunities for unemployed graduates who are employed as facilitators and by using local suppliers.

The facilitators play a mentorship and coaching role to the liquor traders. .

Most of the rtf outlets were not always a safe space for consumers, aware.org has managed to make these outlets operate in a much safer environment for consumers through its incentive scheme. Khathazile Beauty Legoko, a licence holder and owner of Lovelane tavern in White City, Soweto, is one of the rtf incentive scheme beneficiaries who was awarded CCTV camera installation in her tavern. “Lovelane tavern is now a safer and compliant liquor trader than it was before,” says Legoko.

Outlet owners who are beneficiaries of aware.org’s rtf programme receive incentives that enable them to meet the minimum requirements according to their license conditions based on the Liquor Act, Norms and Standards and the OHS Act.

The programme Incentive Scheme consists of four tiers, namely tier 1, which provides the basic requirements such as a trading hours board, outlet file and pledge poster. Tier 2 aims to assist outlet owners to comply with the relevant legal requirements, its provisions include outlet safety signage, fire extinguisher, male and female toilets, drinking water and first aid.

Tier 3 upgrades are CCTV cameras and improved lighting outside the outlet, while tier 4 includes painting the outlet and installations of alarm system.

Aware.org’s rtf programme does not only focus on creating safer and compliant liquor outlets. The facilitators routinely engages key stakeholders such as police, provincial liquor board inspectors, liquor forums and/or tavern associations to provide an update on the rtf project while gathering feedback on current challenges.

It is now more than ever important for liquor traders and the industry to decisively work with aware.org to create a healthy alcohol consumption relationship with SA consumers.

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