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Minister: Susan Shabangu
Deputy Minister: Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Deputy Minister
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Saturday, 01 September 2018
01 September 2018: Saldanha Bay, The Deputy Minister of Social Development launched 999 campaign in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape Province, which seeks to help pregnant women and protect unborn babies against Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This initiative will be rolled out in all nine provinces during the first nine days of September month.

World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day is commemorated each year at nine minutes past nine on the ninth day of the ninth month (09:09am on the 09th day of the 09 month). It is for this reason that this national campaign is called 999 and its official closing will be on the 9th in Gauteng Province.

Addressing residents of Saldanha Bay in Western Cape, the Deputy Minister said that alcohol is not good for pregnant women as it causes long-term risks and dangers for unborn babies. “If a pregnant woman drinks, she is more likely to give birth to a child with intellectual and physical disabilities. We call upon all women to take responsibility and not forget that they are givers of life. Those who drink alcohol while pregnant are not giving life; but they take it away from our communities,” said the Deputy Minister.

She urged ward councillors to know their people and know who is pregnant from their wards so that a message can be spread against Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

This campaign, she said, is not only about raising awareness against FAS but also to address issues of malnutrition by educating our communities that “it is important for pregnant women to eat at least one nutritious meal a day for the benefit of unborn babies.”

During interactions with the Deputy Minister, one community member told the audience that enough is enough! She said that; “a lot has been said about alcohol abuse in our community.” “We need to unite and work together as community and close illegal taverns. It is not government alone which can address this problem; we also need to take action,” she said.

Another community member said that the issue of alcohol abuse by pregnant women cannot be addressed by Social Development alone; but other government departments must also be held accountable. “We have many unlicensed liquor stores in our community and it is up to law enforcement authorities, especially, South African Police Service (SAPS) to close illegal taverns, he said.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is a pattern of birth defects caused by mothers who abuse alcohol during pregnancy and such behaviour negatively affects children’s growth as well as their learning and development opportunities. The quantity of alcohol the mother drinks enters the unborn babies’ bloodstream and cause permanent and irreversible damage to the foetus.

Inclosing, the Deputy Minister told those in attendance that government is willing to work with communities and reminded them that prevention is better than cure. Mothers and children who are 12 years and above were afforded an opportunity to sign a pledge against alcohol abuse by pregnant women.

These FAS dialogues are continuing tomorrow in Ematheni Traditional Council, Maphaphoma in KwaNongoma.


Media inquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it