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Over 9 000 motorists now face a criminal record for driving over the limit

16 November 2010

SAB reports back on interim successes of its strategy to address irresponsible alcohol consumption in SA

Since the launch of its innovative strategy to address alcohol abuse in October last year, the South African Breweries (SAB) has funded eight alcohol evidence centres (AECs) around the country - at a cost of R1 million each. Thus far, over 9 000 people have been processed through the AEC's and been arrested for driving under the influence.

The AECs, which boast breathalyser equipment and specially trained personnel, have helped the traffic authorities to far more efficiently and effectively process drivers suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit. SAB will open seven more AEC's before the end of March 2011.

Caro Smit from South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) commented: "Research has shown us that responsible driving only comes about because people are afraid of the legal and financial repercussions of their actions.

"In the Western Cape, for example, road deaths resulting from drunken driving are down by 12%. This is partly due to the work done by the Western Cape Department of Transport, but SAB also needs to be congratulated for funding the AECs. SADD and SAB's partnership is now beginning to bear fruit, or should we say, starting to save lives," Smit continued.

This week also sees the launch of a refreshed ‘Reality Check' advertising campaign by SAB, which aims to support the AEC's by creating awareness of the consequences of drinking and driving.

"While the majority of South Africans consume alcohol responsibly, those who abuse alcohol have a disproportionately negative impact on South African society. We view this as unacceptable" says SAB director of corporate affairs and transformation, Vincent Maphai.

As a result, last year SAB launched a hard hitting and wide reaching strategy aimed at tackling the effects of alcohol abuse in South Africa. The company committed more than R40 million to real impact programmes which aim to encourage responsible consumption. This figure increases to more than R90-million annually if the value of campaigns is considered ie the discounts given by media houses and other suppliers to expand media and advertising coverage.

SAB's four key focus areas are alcohol related road deaths, Foetal Alcohol Sydrome (FAS), underage drinking and responsible trading. Since its launch last year, SAB's strategy to tackle alcohol abuse has made a tangible difference in addressing the negative consequences of alcohol abuse.

"We are committed to making a real and positive impact on society and to do that we need to change people's behaviours. Lower blood alcohol concentration limits and stricter enforcement have been proven around the world to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities linked to drinking and driving. South Africans must realise that if you are going to drink, you cannot drive. Even an innocent drink or two at a family dinner can end up in a criminal conviction," says Dr Maphai.

For further information or interviews, please contact Robyn Chalmers on 082 924 2267 or Benedict Maaga on 079 890 7300.

Notes to editors

Overview of SAB's strategy to address Alcohol Abuse
SAB's strategy to tackle the issues of alcohol abuse is framed around 3 key dimensions:

1. Leading by example

Responsible marketing:
- New codes for marketing programmes and commercial partnerships aimed at setting new standards in responsible marketing and trading and shaping new standards of behaviour of employees, trade partners and the industry.

Employee alcohol policy and programmes:
- Focus on zero tolerance of drunk driving by employees and significant reduction in outdoor advertising in areas of high abuse.

2. Championing co-regulation

- Increased resources to build partnerships with government and the industry.

Driving real advances in the normalisation of the industry through:
- Supporting and incentivising shebeens to come into the formally regulated industry.
- Supporting regulators to build capacity and capability.
- Renewed commitment to collaboration and self-regulation in the industry.

3. Investing in high-impact programmes

Alcohol related road deaths:
- Drinking and driving: Funding of Alcohol Evidence Centres in conjunction with law enforcement agencies
o Pedestrian safety: Bobs for Good Foundation collaboration
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome:
- Partnership with FasFacts, extending scope of education and prevention programmes, focus on the problems areas of Northern and Western Cape

Underage Drinking:
- New commercial code for customers, backed up by intensive education programme with traders
- Sports diversion pilot - building of sports fields

Responsible trading programme:
- Programme aimed at generating awareness and commitment to responsible alcohol trading amongst liquor traders.

Reality Check:
- Hard hitting advertising campaign

This is an SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 15/11/2010.

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