WINEFORGOOD - Distell, taxi industry and liquor traders join hands to tackle social challenges

Monday, 12 April, 2021
National Liquor Traders
The partnership will see the two largest black-owned industries in the country and the largest locally owned liquor company work together to enhance COVID-19 compliance, reduce road traffic accidents, combat gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), promote black entrepreneurship and drive the responsible consumption of alcohol.

At launch of the SANTACO Hlokomela road safety campaign held at the Benoni taxi rank, was the President of SANTACO Philip Taaibosch and Distell South Africa MD Wim Buhrmann.

Hlokomela is a Sotho word meaning “to look after oneself, to be alert”, and the campaign focuses on customer care and giving commuters confidence in taxi drivers’ commitment to providing the best service, which is safe, efficient, reliable and affordable.

The Hlokomela campaign aims to help reduce road accidents through checking and monitoring of taxi vehicles at check points and working hand-in-hand with traffic officials to promote road safety and eliminate improper conduct by taxi drivers and operators.

While SANTACO is committed to building a culture of compliance to road safety, traffic laws, speed limit and covid-19, the industry will also strengthen its partnership with law enforcement to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.

Meanwhile, Distell will invest R5.8-million in the distribution of sanitisers and face masks at taxi ranks, training in COVID-19 safety measures, GBVF awareness, business skills and customer care, basic vehicle checks and road and pedestrian safety, as well as first aid training for taxi drivers and owners.

Tavern owners will receive similar training, as well as training in principles of responsible trading and sustainable development. The partnership dramatically expands the reach of Distell’s existing programmes to promote road safety and the responsible consumption of alcohol, as well as its work to address gender-based violence and femicide.

The taxi and tavern industries have a combined annual turnover of R85-billion and support more than two million livelihoods, mainly in townships, representing a cohort of established black entrepreneurs and a largely untapped base for economic growth.

SANTACO President Phillip Taaibosch said the Council’s partnership with liquor traders and Distell created a mass-based, grassroots platform to drive road safety and COVID-compliance, tackle gender-based violence and promote a culture of responsible drinking on an unprecedented scale.

“Our combined membership reaches the vast majority of South Africans, on their way to and from work every day or when they socialise, in every corner of the country. I’m convinced that by working together we can make a massive difference. No other organisation can match the scale of this partnership,” Taaibosch said.

Distell MD Wim Buhrmann said the company wanted to be part of the solution to common challenges.

“We’ve done some great work with the Department of Transport to support the Arrive Alive campaign, with a focus on reducing the incidence of drinking and driving. But we know from official statistics that this issue accounts for only between 3.4% and 5.5% of road fatalities, whereas vehicle and passenger overloading account for just under half of traffic offences.

“We’ll only make a real difference to road safety if we take a holistic, evidence-based approach and join hands with significant sectors like the taxi and tavern industries.

“There is a big socio-economic dimension to many of our challenges – from gender-based violence and femicide, to binge drinking, crime and violence- and driving sustainable economic development, promoting entrepreneurship and stimulating job creation are all part of the solution.

“Distell takes a partnership approach to these issues and we’re proud to support taxi and tavern owners to build a better future togetherm that will benefit all parties,” said Rushton.

National Liquor Traders Council Convenor Lucky Ntimane said it was encouraging to see large corporations like Distell working with small business owners in townships to build sustainable local economies.

“These are our communities, where we live with our families, and we have a direct interest in making them safer while growing our businesses and employment for the long term. The business and financial management skills training from Distell goes hand-in-hand with the principles of responsible trading and our commitment to promote a culture of responsible drinking, as well as addressing GBVF,” said Ntimane.

“We have to be part of growing our communities if we want to grow our businesses.”

The parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which commits them to continued co-operation throughout the year. In promoting responsible alcohol consumption, the partnership will also explore collaboration with the tavern industry to drastically reduce drinking under the influence of liqour.   The parties have for now set a target to reduce road accidents involving taxis and pedestrian fatalities significantly.

Programmes will be focused on at total of 75 taxi ranks across all provinces, in identified hotspots using statistics for population density, road accidents and pedestrian fatalities and areas with a high incidence of GBVF cases.

There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories. Share them far and wide and spread the good news about South African wine.