By Silindzelwe Nxumalo
Eswatini Beverages Limited (EBL) has taken the initiative to promote responsible trading by liquor retailers. EBL has embarked on a vigorous awareness campaign that will culminate in the branding of compliant liquor outlets. The programme will be rolled out to 574 traders countrywide and EBL is collaborating with Eswatini Liquor Board (ELB). Outlets that trade responsibly will be incentivized with product discounts.
EBL Country Director Doreen Tumureebire said retailers will be assessed according to their levels of compliance. Tumureebire mentioned that there were three compliance accreditation levels categorized as silver, gold and platinum. Tumureebire who joined the EBL as Country Director on July 1 explained that the silver category will be the entry bar signalling compliance with liquor regulations. Platinum accreditation, which is the highest of them all, means the retailer is a true champion of safety and community involvement. This is something that all retailers should work towards. She said the programme would address the selling of alcohol to under-aged people, intoxicated customers, driving under the influence of alcohol and consumption by pregnant women. The Country Director also stated that non-complying outlets would be mentored to meet the set requirements.
“As recognized leaders in their respective communities, our trader partners are the most powerful force in the fight against the harm caused by alcohol abuse. Behaving responsibly and creating awareness amongst their consumers and staff about the dangers of alcohol abuse can have a long-term positive impact on the sustainability of communities and the trader business,” she noted. Tumureebire urged retailers to welcome and assist officials who may visit their business premises to ascertain compliance. The objective of the audits was not to penalize non-complying outlets, but to assist them to fully comply with the trading requirements. Social Centre Bar at KaShali in Manzini has already been branded with a logo written “Eswatini Beverages Responsible Programme” and a tagline “Championing Responsibility”.
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo visited the outlet on August 10 soon after launching the programme at the EBL Head Office in Matsapha. Bar owner Sifiso Mabuza said RTP would promote customer safety when considering the high number of violent incidents at liquor outlets. “I am humbled that Eswatini Beverages chose to kick-start the programme from my business,” he said. Mabuza, who has been running the business for six years, said he always ensured that his customers did not harm each other.