Johannesburg, South Africa – In the wake of the recent unrest in the country, Diageo South Africa has launched a R5-million relief initiative to help the country’s liquor industry following the looting and destruction of businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. The money will go towards more than 230 alcohol retailers, warehouses, distribution centres and small businesses which were vandalised and looted during the week-long riots.
The impact of an already strenuous year for many businesses, due to lockdown restrictions has been worsened by recent events. Now more than ever, Diageo is committed to connecting with its partners and offering relief through this purpose-driven campaign geared towards rebuilding the industry that will ultimately get South Africans back at work again. Diageo has been inspired by the many South Africans who have rolled up their sleeves to help clean up and rebuild. Diageo hopes this financial contribution and stock injection will help speed up the recovery of those businesses affected by the riots.
Zizwe Vundla, Diageo SA’s Marketing Director says, “We want to see businesses rebuild and thrive again. We are prepared to work and contribute to the collective progress, from consumers to business owners. We must realise that even in distress we have always been able to rise above our challenges as South Africans.”
“We cannot shy away from the damage that many have suffered in the past week of which the full extent is still unknown. The looting coupled with the country’s extended alcohol ban has heavily impacted mostly small businesses and the families behind them, as well as the wider industry supply chain. Therefore, it is important that through our flagship brands, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, we offer these businesses another shot at rebuilding so we can get South Africans back at work.
Through this relief fund, we will be able to assist businesses by doing the following: repairing and replacing shop fitting, replenishing of stock , clean-up drives, cash injections to help business owners pay their staff during a time where business operations have halted, marketing support, food parcels to restaurant and bar employees that have lost their jobs as well as giving our trade partners reprieve on payment terms" Vundla added.
This commitment is in addition to the support that Diageo SA provided to the industry last year, through partnerships with the Restaurant Association of South Africa and the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa which saw more than 400 establishments in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban assisted with R200-million support to cushion them from the blow of COVID-19 lockdown and the alcohol restrictions.
“We want to show our customers that we are still with them during this tough time, as we continue to give back to them,” says Zizwe Vundla, “ Johnnie Walker has always been a powerful force, bringing people together for centuries, and now more than ever, we have to keep walking with them and help them rebuild their businesses.”