No booze please, we're the government
Erna van Wyk, City Press
Johannesburg - No more boozing at government Christmas parties, please.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is urging government departments to have alcohol-free year-end functions.
Calling on her colleagues to lead by example, Dlamini also wants a ban on alcohol at all government functions.
"Charity begins at home. We also call on all government employees not to drink and drive," Dlamini told City Press on Friday.
Her department is leading government’s anti-alcohol and substance abuse festive season programme that will be launched in the Western Cape next Wednesday.
With the theme "Towards an alcohol & drug-free South Africa", Dlamini is calling on government departments - from the local police station in Springbok to President Jacob Zuma's office - to have a "dry" festive season.
This latest drive is part of an inter-ministerial anti-substance abuse programme.
The plan also includes a controversial ban on alcohol advertising that Dlamini said will be attended to in the first quarter of 2012.
'We want to instil responsibility. Government is asking all South Africans to take a stand against alcohol and substance abuse and to build better communities,” she said.
Setting the example, Dlamini already banned alcohol at functions hosted by her department last year.
"The festive season is supposed to be a happy time. But every year young people get killed or kill someone else when they drink and drive.
"Substance abuse contributes to many of our social ills. It plays a role in the spread of HIV/Aids through risky sexual behaviour associated with being intoxicated.
"And it plays a role in crime and violence against women and children. We have some of the highest foetal alcohol syndrome figures in the world," she said.
Dlamini's ultimate goal is an all-out ban on drinking and driving, where drivers would have "zero" alcohol in their blood.