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Diageo SA launches R25m relief fund for businesses hit by unrest

Alcohol company Diageo South Africa has launched a R25m relief initiative to assist the country's liquor industry to rebuild following the looting and destruction of businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. The money will go towards alcohol outlets that were vandalised and looted during the week-long riots.
Source: Reuters/Rogan Ward
Source: Reuters/Rogan Ward

The impact of an already strenuous year for many businesses due to lockdown restrictions has been worsened by recent events. Diageo said it's connecting with its partners and offering relief through this purpose-driven campaign geared towards rebuilding the industry.

"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," the company said.

Through the relief fund, the company 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 trade partners reprieve on payment terms.

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Zizwe Vundla, Diageo SA’s marketing director comments, “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 month] 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."

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The latest 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 which saw more than 400 establishments in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban assisted with R200m 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 Vundla.
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