Stakeholders combat illicit alcohol
The Self-regulating Alcohol Industry Forum (SAIF) says that a substantial partnership lead by the Namibia Standards Institution (NSI), and supported by other stakeholders such as SAIF, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, NAMPOL, Namibia Shebeen Association, City of Windhoek, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has been established to combat the illicit alcohol produced and/or consumed, in the Namibian market.
According to Horst Heimstadt, the SAIF coordinator, products which do not comply with the Liquor Act of 1998, are found in Namibia and people who consume these products are unaware that the product they are consuming is not necessarily what they think it is.
Heimstadt explains: “When purchasing a brandy or a whisky, this must be a distilled spirit complying with various standards and procedures. However, we find that there are products in our market that are imported from South Africa, Angola and DRC, which are so-called brandy or whisky yet they are simply a mixture of neutral alcohol with colorants and flavourants, and don’t comply with section 48 [of the Act] which deals with brand reliability.
“Some of these products are also not legal in their market of origin, yet they are sold in Namibia. Producing high quality alcoholic beverages within specifications is generally costly, and therefore consumers should question any products that are excessively cheap as the safety of such products may be questionable.”
On the actions of the NSI and partners, Heimstadt says: “The first step is to locate and identify the products in question, and establish in what context they are in contravention of the Namibian laws. A public notice will also be issued to help customers and consumers identify such products. Any trader in possession of illicit alcohol can be prosecuted, irrelevant if he or she was aware that the products are illegal.”