To booze or not to booze?

2011-12-10 17:46

The Department of Basic Education said it “may or may not” serve alcohol at its year-end party. This despite Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s call on government departments to celebrate with booze-free year-end functions.

Basic Education, which is part of the inter-ministerial committee on combating substance abuse, said it would not “patronise staff by assuming they will abuse alcohol if offered there”.

Dlamini made the request in accordance with a resolution of the Second Biennial Anti-Substance Abuse Summit held in Durban earlier this year (see sidebar for a selection of the resolutions).

Asked whether the department would comply with the resolution on alcohol-free functions, departmental spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said it would be “at the discretion of the director-general”.

“If there is alcohol, it will not be offered for free.”

Of the other nine departments which make up the inter-ministerial committee, five said they have banned alcohol from their functions.

These are:
» Social Development
» Health
» Transport
» Police
» Science and Technology

Correctional Services, Higher Education, Economic Development, and Trade and Industry did not respond to enquiries.

The 10 departments – including Basic Education – have accepted resolution 34 of the anti-abuse summit which states: “Setting an example to the public by ensuring that all public service functions are alcohol free.”

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has taken it a step further: the police will not be hosting any end-year functions.

Police members will be working throughout the festive season targeting various hotspots, taverns and illegally trading shebeens.

Said ministerial spokesperson Zweli Mnisi: “We are 100% behind Minister Dlamini’s call. “Not only as a principle but as a leading department tasked with ensuring South Africans are safe and feel free.

“One less drunk person on our streets means one life saved.

“Unless we begin to walk the talk, our awareness campaigns will not achieve positive results,” Mnisi said.

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