Zwelitsha Township is experiencing an epidemic of sorts with the problem of under-age drinking with children frequently being seen drinking alcohol in the presence of their parents.
According to some mothers of children who asked to remain anonymous, they had no problem with the fact their children were drinking and, according to them, thought drinking alcohol was better than visiting a clinic or hospital because it helped “to protect you from worms” and helped children behave.
After some investigation by the GO! & Express, some establishments were seen to be willingly selling alcohol to children even though they knew the children were under-age.
“It’s our right to use my grant and nobody can tell me how to spend it. I must tell myself to choose the way I live and the medicine for worms [from clinic] is not doing the job well. That is why we decided to use this kind of alcohol,” said one of the mothers.
Asked about the risk to health when abusing alcohol, none of the mothers answered.
“You don’t know how things in our life change,” one of them said.
The GO! approached Zwelitsha Clinic for more information. One of the sisters in charge expressed shock when told about some of the comments about under-age drinking, but refused to comment about that matter. She instead referred all questions to department of health spokesperson Lwandile Sichwetsha.
Attempts to get comment from Zwelitsha-based paediatrician Dr Nonqaba Makiwane were unsuccessful.
“I think this is a very bad accusation and it can kill the future of our babies at schools and inside our communities,” Zwelitsha resident Nosipho Mangeniswa said.
“I’m requesting our government to give full consideration to the issue. I appeal to department of health and social development to do a full investigation about the illegal selling of alcohol.”
Mangeniswa also appealed to communities to work together to fight under-age drinking