Pretoria — As South Africans prepare for a well-deserved festive season break, the Department of Social Development has called upon all South Africans to refrain from alcohol and drug abuse during holiday festivities.
"Government departments and other public institutions are urged to take the lead in this regard by not serving alcohol at their year-end functions. Private sector companies are also encouraged to promote responsible citizenship by not serving alcohol at their year-end gatherings," the department said in a statement.
The department noted that despite government's and civil society groups' best efforts to prevent the unnecessary loss of life and other atrocities related to alcohol and drug abuse, countless South Africans still suffer the consequences of irresponsible behaviour during this time of the year.
"Many lives are lost in road accidents caused by drinking and driving; children are left abandoned and destitute because of parents who indulge in alcohol and abdicate their parental responsibilities; violent crimes such as murder and rape increase in our communities as a direct result of alcohol and drug abuse.
"Young people get involved in irresponsible sexual behaviour and end up pregnant and contracting diseases because of alcohol and drug abuse; and many families are left without money for food and other essentials in the new year because of reckless spending on alcohol during the festive season."
The department also appealed to parents to look after their children during the festive season, especially when visiting crowded public places like beaches in order to avoid children getting lost or drowning in water.
"We urge pregnant women to refrain from using any form of drug including alcohol and tobacco. The use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco can lead to serious brain damage to unborn children.
"We urge South Africans to remember that life continues after the festive season and not to make bad choices during this brief period that will have permanent consequences they will regret for the rest of their lives."