Media Release: Deputy Minister of Social Development speaks out against alcohol in schools

Friday, 4 February 2011: “Alcohol free schools means no alcohol for learners and no alcohol to be consumed by either teachers or parents on the school premises. It also means no advertising or sponsorships by alcohol producers or sellers at schools. It means all events and tours are to be alcohol free. No shebeen, tavern or bottle store should operate within 500 metres of the school. In addition schools need to be committed to educating learners about the consequences of alcohol and other substances in the school,’’ so said the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Bongi Maria Ntuli today at the launch of the Soul Buddyz television series.

She continued, “Don’t be afraid to tell your friends that you do not agree with them if they are doing something that you know is wrong. Don’t join them when they bring alcohol to school, schools can never be drinking places. Remember, in 1976 children died so that schools could be places of hope rather than places of despair. Keep your schools, alcohol free!”

The latest Soul Buddyz series which is produced by the Soul City Institute is central to Phuza Wize, a national campaign that aims to mobilise South Africans to bring about changes in acceptable drinking behaviour. The current series, being broadcast on SABC1 on Mondays at 19h00, focuses on schools becoming alcohol-free zones.

According to Lebogang Ramafoko, Senior Executive at the Soul City Institute, “This series is targeted at 12 to 14 year olds and shows the impact of alcohol on children. It follows the story of a group of children who try to rid their school and community of alcohol and encourages learners to get involved in making their schools alcohol-free zones.”

“This campaign to eradicate alcohol in schools is being implemented by over 130 000 children in almost 6 500 Soul Buddyz Clubs around the country, who are getting their schools to implement existing policy or draw up an alcohol-free policy and maintain this status on an ongoing basis,” adds Aadielah Maker, Soul City Institute Senior Executive.

Regulations governing South African schools clearly state that, "No learner, teacher, parent or any other person should possess or use alcohol during any school activity." While the legislation promotes the absence of alcohol, monitoring at school level is clearly inadequate.

More information about the campaign and the series can be obtained from our website or www.phuzawize.co.za

ENDS

For further information and hi res pictures of the event, members of the cast or crew, please call Onyx Marketing Communications: Georgina Lefifi on 082 908 2555/011 315 6001

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