The South African Breweries (SAB) recently participated in the 15th annual Road Safety Summit held on the 8 - 9 November, 2023 in Johannesburg. Themed, “Road safety is a shared responsibility,” the event saw stakeholders came together to address various approaches, including smart transport monitoring systems to ensure road safety in South Africa.
“At SAB we focus on addressing some of South Africa’s highest-priority challenges by working to curb the harmful consumption of alcohol within the communities we operate in. One such intervention was the launch of the Alcohol Evidence Centres (AEC). We believe a focused approach through evidence-based solutions like the AECs and law enforcement will be a vital element to its success of promoting responsible drinking,” said Zoleka Lisa, Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
Alcohol-related vehicle accidents can only be reduced through effective road safety strategies. That is why SAB is championing responsibility by empowering the authorities to enforce regulations with world class infrastructure and technology to process drunk arrests. Currently, there are twenty SAB sponsored Alcohol Evidence Centres (AEC) in operation, a further five will be added by December 2023.
One of the summit’s highlights for SAB was a panel discussion on the topic focused on the importance of AEC’s. Panellists included, Mike Botolo, Acting Chief Superintendent at the JMPD who spoke about the impact of AECs. He unpacked the numbers including prosecutions, detailing their structure, and giving the audience some background on the relationship between JMPD and SAB. Acting Chief Supt. Botolo added the impact of the AECs has been able to alleviate some of the challenges that law enforcement offices have face on the road including the reduction in due to backlog of cases resulting from irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
Xolani Fihla, JMPD Spokesperson addressed partnerships with corporates, the size of the issue on the roads, and he contextualised the issue they are faced with as a department. Fihla highlighted that the relationship has yielded positive results and believed that these types of partnerships aid is combating the societal matters that communities face on a daily basis.
Zanele Mphuthi, Inland Corporate Affairs Manager at SAB addressed the audience on the brewery’s Sharp programme and its Public, Private partnership. “We want to be part of the solution and we hope that our interventions are able to change the behaviour on the roads, we hope that the data is able to inform the ways in which we can influence the prosecution efforts of repeat offenders,” she said.
“Investing in road safety is critical to SAB and always has been. We want to help ensure that our consumers, and the communities we serve are safe on the roads. Through our collective efforts, we aim to reduce alcohol-related road accidents in hotspot areas by providing support platforms that drive championing responsibility on our road through our Drive Sharp pillar,” explained Lisa.
AECs help equip law enforcement with the tools and support they need to effectively curb the rate of fatal road accidents. These AECs have become crucial in helping law enforcement test suspected drunk drivers and confirm their breath or blood alcohol limit using Evidentiary Breathalyser Alcohol Testing (EBAT). Following that, the AECs are all fully equipped to ensure that the evidence is properly collected and admissible in court.
Lisa concludes, “Responsibility is integrated into our business strategy and systemwide operations, informing our ambition to grow our category responsibly. It shapes our decisions, guides our actions, and drives our commitment to sustainable growth and positive impact on society. As we head into the festive season, we urge South African’s to enjoy alcohol responsibly and have none for the road."