The Group Managing Director for Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), Hloni Matsela, says the company is sensitive to the concerns of government and believes that it also has a role to play in the fight against alcohol abuse.
Speaking at the launch of alcohol responsibility recently, he said his organisation does not condone any abuse of the products. He stated that it is important to be concerned about excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse because of the impact they have on society.
He further said the Botswana government has clearly expressed concern over the effects of alcohol abuse and, as a result, has taken remedial actions, which include reduction of alcohol trading hours, the alcohol levy, which was introduced at 30 percent and is now at 40 percent, as well as the proposed new regulations on the sale of traditional beer.
“All our communication is governed by our Policy on Commercial Communication (POCC) which, among other things, states that our advertising will not be directed to persons under the legal drinking age and will also include promotions that encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol,” he said.
Matsela added that to ensure compliance with the policy, there is a multi-disciplinary Sales and Marketing Compliance Committee (SMCC) that reviews all communication materials before their public consumption.
KBL MD further stated that they believe that being a retailer comes with responsibilities and duties as well as responsibility to protect customers and the community. He said duties to comply with the law and trade responsibly is also a key factor and added that KBL believes that serving alcohol is not impersonal, but is a social function.
The objective of the Responsible Trader Programme (RTP) is to create awareness of the harms associated with the abuse of alcohol consumption as well as eenlightening traders on their role in the reduction of alcohol abuse. He added that RTP also is aimed to eempower traders to drive behavioural change in their establishments and to build trader competence in responsible trading and dealing with different kinds of customers.
“Our experience from running alcohol responsibility campaigns is that there is a rejection of messages which are seen to be preachy or judgemental or threatening and we therefore developed a theme which will be a call to responsible action,” said Matsela.
The KBL MD revealed that the first RTP workshop will be held in Gaborone on June 28 this year which will then be rolled out to the rest of the country. He said retailers who go through the programme will be challenged to develop a community impact project for their area.
“The proposed projects will compete for funding from KBL and BBL and the focal point of the community impact project will initially be on discouraging irresponsible alcohol consumption,” he said.