Alcohol Harms Reduction | WCG Game Changers

Why is this important?

Alcohol is the most widely abused drug in South Africa and its harmful use causes enormous social, emotional and economic costs to society.

In South Africa, more than half of road accidents, over 60% of road deaths, domestic violence incidences and homicides are directly or indirectly related to harmful alcohol use.

Alcohol has also been identified as the 3rd leading risk factor for death and disability in South Africa. Over several years, many attempts have been made to reduce alcohol abuse in the Western Cape, by governments and civil society. However, there is little systemic success to show for all the effort.

The Western Cape Government aims to change this by focusing on interventions that make a tangible impact on reducing the harms related to alcohol.

We are focusing on three target areas to implement Game Changer interventions, namely Khayelitsha Town 2 and the surrounding area, parts of Nyanga and Gugulethu (Gunya) and Drakenstein municipality.

How are we succeeding?

Lever One: Reduce Access to Alcohol

alcohol kpi 2

Khayelitsha Town 2 Community Survey 

alcohol kpi 3

The Game Changer team conducted a survey in Khayelitsha Town 2 in December 2016. A following survey was conducted in April 2018, to measure whether there has been a change in respondents’ sense of safety in the area.

What are we doing?

Having started in May 2016 with the implementation phase of the Game Changer, early evidence identified a number of interventions worth amplifying and others that showed little potential to reduce harms. A community and learner survey also provided valuable pointers for the way forward. Therefore, a year later, there was a refinement of the Game Changer.

The new approach is to test those interventions that have shown the greatest potential for success, while at the same time making some key systemic changes. Specifically:

  • An experimental approach seeks to test a few concepts and interventions in selected areas with the intention of extracting what works best and what may be scalable. Innovation and flexibility are key components of this approach.  For example, we are testing an Enhanced Sense of Safety initiative that will introduce 24/7 camera surveillance of licensed and unlicensed liquor trading and the surrounding environments within Khayelitsha, together with a rapid response unit of law enforcement agents.
  • A systemic approach changes what and how things are done through regulatory and institutional mechanisms, with a particular focus on reforming the role of the Province’s liquor regulatory body and regulation under its purview.

We are focusing on three key levers to achieve our goal.
Each of these levers include a range of interventions including:

1. Lever one: Reducing Access to Alcohol 

  • Our Legalisation strategy is focused on increasing the number of legal liquor outlets and closing down illegal outlets, which will result in a reduction in the number of total liquor retailing outlets in our target areas. This will bring a rule of law to these communities and increase the sense of safety of residents in these areas.
  • We are also focused on enhancing the sense of safety in Town 2, Khayelitsha by installing surveillance cameras that are linked to the City of Cape Town's Control Room and deploying more law enforcement officers in the area.

2. Lever two: Recreational and Economic Alternatives 

  • We are introducing I-Can Play digital gaming centres in our target centres, with the first one opening in Khayelitsha.
  • We are also amplifying an existing youth hip hop programme in Nyanga called Nyanga Yethu that holds hip hop open mic sessions and workshops for the surrounding youth.
  • The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport also provides funding for ‘four-a-side’ soccer coaching and tournaments in the area.
  • Key to the success of the Game Changer is the support and involvement of the community. We have therefore been running a community owned solution process in Town 2, Khayelitsha where we ask residents what they think will bring down alcohol abuse and related crime in their area and how they feel about providing support for some of the suggested interventions. As part of this process, we are supporting community sports and recreational tournaments in the area.

3. Lever three: Alcohol related Health and Social Services 

  • The Western Cape Departments of Health and Social Development are providing alcohol related harms interventions at public health and social service facilities in our target areas.

What can you do?

  • If you are a young person living in Khayelitsha, go check out the iCan Play centre at the Bandwidth Barn, Lookout Hill where all new gamers get their first 24 hours free
  • If you live in Town 2 Khayelitsha, help us make the area safer by calling 107 in an emergency using a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.
  • Join us for Nyanga Yethu Open mic nights every Thursday and Friday night at the Zolani Centre in Nyanga.