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SAB Partners with DTI and NYDA to Tackle Underage Drinking

14 February 2012

Twitter cue: SAB launches ground breaking programme to curb underage drinking
Durban. 14 February 2012. The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and provincial Departments of Education to launch a comprehensive programme to tackle the scourge of underage drinking.
The launch of the programme, which took place in Phoenix, Durban, today was hosted by KwaZulu-Natal's MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu. The programme encompasses a series of interactive initiatives aimed at teens, but with strong links to parents, peers, teachers, liquor traders and the community.
"Statistics indicate that one out of every two teenagers in the average South African home is a user of alcohol," says SAB Director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Dr Vincent Maphai. "Underage drinking is one of the most serious forms of alcohol abuse and has an overwhelmingly negative impact on South African society as a whole. We view this as unacceptable, and so we have partnered with government on a programme that we believe will effect real change amongst South Africa's youth."
The ground breaking programme, called You Decide, is a multi-faceted intervention grounded in the latest thinking on the clinical and psychological facets of this complex problem. The initial phase of the programme will run in Kwazulu-Natal, the North West, Free State and Mpumalanga, reaching some 360 schools and targeting an estimated 400 000 learners this year alone. The programme will be run for a number of years, expanding its reach annually until all provinces in the country have been covered.
Ms Thezi Mabuza, the Chief Director of the National Liquor Authority, said: "One of the objects of the National Liquor Act 59 of 2003 is to reduce the socio-economic costs of alcohol abuse. In doing this the act obliges macro manufacturers and distributors of liquor to make commitments to combat alcohol abuse. It is in this spirit that we as the Department of Trade of Industry are joining forces with SAB and the NYDA in this initiative to curb underage drinking. The underlying reasons for underage drinking are diverse and are associated with social assertion (the need to be cooler, the desire to be older or to fit in) and despondency (no sense of future that makes teens look for unhealthy and destructive avenues of self-gratification). Industry and government have partnered to embark on this campaign to ensure that South African communities are educated on the dangers of alcohol abuse and misuse and that underage drinking is bad for their overall development."

The MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Senzo Mchunu, echoed Ms Mabuza's comments by saying: "I am very excited about this initiative because it fits snugly with our My Life My Future! Campaign which the department launched in early 2011. That campaign targets alcohol and substance abuse as well as teenage pregnancy among learners and other forms of social ills afflicting our societies thus extending to our schools. There is overwhelming evidence of a link between alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy as well as the scourge of HIV among young people, particularly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We certainly believe that this partnership will go a long way in combating lawlessness in our schools and help us to hone young minds to become productive citizens of this country."
Andile Lungisa, Chairperson of the NYDA, commented: "The NYDA takes the national scourge of underage drinking very seriously. That is why we have decided to join hands with SAB to confront - head on - one of the biggest challenges that the country faces today: underage drinking."
SAB, the DTI, the NYDA, provincial governments and subject matter experts jointly developed the You Decide campaign, which encompasses a series of activities designed to demonstrate to teens that the choices they make now can impact on their future prospects positively or negatively. The campaign includes a series of school visits which encompass an interactive roadshow on underage drinking; an inter-school competition to consolidate and drive home the messaging; curriculum aligned lesson plans for teachers; a practical guide for parents; resources for teens including counselling, reading material, a website and Facebook page; a teen ambassador programme and an advanced reality game for 60 core players.
The teachers' material will assist them in making leaners understand the harmful effects of underage drinking and to give teens the resistance techniques required to withstand peer pressure. Workshops will also be held with parents and communities to raise awareness of, and identify ways to discourage, underage drinking. In addition, taverns around the schools will be visited to impress upon the taverners how important their role in preventing underage drinking is.
A key innovation of the You Decide programme is an immersive game that shows (rather than tells) selected youths first hand that the decisions they make now will impact on their future prospects. The game also features local celebrities Israel Makoe, Khanya Mkangisa, Thembalethu Ntuli and Andile Dlamini as well as up and coming singing sensation, Lilly Million.
The game, which runs in selected schools in and around Durban from today until 22 March 2012, makes use of a number of different platforms ranging from traditional to social media.

For further information, please contact:
Robyn Chalmers
Head of Media and Communications, SAB
Tel: 011 881 8679
For the latest SAB news, follow us on:
Twitter: @SAB_Limited
For further information on SAB's responsible drinking campaign, Reality Check:
Twitter: @RealityCheckSAB
Notes to editors
The underage programme forms part of SAB's wider strategy to tackle alcohol abuse, which includes targeted interventions such as Alcohol Evidence Centres, the Responsible Trader Programme, the Tavern Intervention Programme and initiatives to tackle Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Note, the news release was first published in its local market on [14/02/2012].

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