”Alcohol abuse among our youth has reached alarming proportions. People who drink are engaged in violence and sexual abuse …We will continue to campaign to deliver a better life to our youth and educate them on the ills of alcohol abuse,” said newly elected African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema on Friday.
The ANCYL had earlier this year called for the curbing of alcohol sales on Sundays as part of a national campaign against alcohol abuse.
Malema, who spoke at the Soul City Institute in Johannesburg where he attended a workshop on alcohol abuse, seems eager to continue the campaign.
Explaining the importance of the league’s campaign, he said: ”Alcohol abuse has been identified as one of the most prevalent drivers of moral degeneration and has a particular debilitating effect on our youth … Our approach in this regard is: What calibre of youth do we want, who will be champions of South Africa’s future?”
He continued: ”The prevalence of alcohol abuse among our youth manifests itself in many ways, ranging from drunken driving to binge drinking … People who drink are engaged in violence and sexual abuse.”
Malema also mentioned the ”erosion of discipline and respect” as an important negative effect of alcohol abuse: ”Too often we read reports about young people who assault their parents and elders and embark in shameful shenanigans after taking a drink too many.”
On the ANCYL’s call to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays, he said: ”The liberalisation of the sale of alcohol, resulting in liquor outlets being allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays, does nothing for our society, but rather perpetuates the erosion of the country’s moral fibre.
”At the core of our call to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays is the desire to force society to step back and contemplate the impact of it not only on our youth, but on the society at large. Restrictions on the sale of alcohol is a step in the right direction.”
The ANCYL also wants to ”utilise education, inculcating the culture of reading, encouraging healthy lifestyle through sports and responsible recreation” to battle alcohol abuse.
Malema emphasised the importance of acting now, and together. ”From now on we want to mobilise shebeen owners, manufacturers, labour and private business so that we moving as a collective.”
He concluded: ”We will continue to campaign and work with organisations like the Soul City Institute to deliver a better life to our youth and educate them on the ills of alcohol abuse.”