At a meeting with the liquor industry in Malmesbury yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde pleaded for the liquor trade as well as consumers to be responsible in their consumption as well as sales of alcohol.
Being a two-edged sword, the wine industry represents a R30 billion contribution to the economy and employs 300000 staff. Exports from the Western Cape amount to in excess of one million liters, which generates foreign direct investment. Wine Tourism adds R6 billion to the local hospitality industry. Given the economic and job creation benefits of the wine industry, the province is focusing on enhancing wine exports to China and Angola, for example.
The Minister said that ‘we are very aware that the abuse of alcohol is driving social harms’. He said that alcohol is linked negatively to crime, to death, to disability, and to violent injuries. The negative impact of alcohol costs the Western Cape economy R6 billion annually, monies which could be far better and more positively used to improve the lives of locals, the Minister said.
Minister Winde asked for assistance by alcohol suppliers and retailers to be responsible, as should be citizens, to reduce the negative impact of alcohol. This is being done by more than a hundred information sessions hosted throughout the province in the current financial year, addressing schools, community policing forums, and neighborhood watches. Legislation is also being evaluated, to make it better, and to reduce red tape, while education about the Western Cape Liquor Act is taking place amongst new sellers of alcohol.
Premier Helen Zille is to announce ‘an initiative aimed at reducing the harms associated with alcohol abuse. We take our role in promoting a responsible industry very seriously, and are proud to be a part of building this together with you’, concluded Minister Winde.
Source: Minister Alan Winde’s office.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here