Monday, 18 December 2023

PURSUING GREATNESS FOR GOOD and leaving our industry better than what we found it.

We are excited to introduce Bayanda Cwazibe as the new Chair of the SALBA committee—a dynamic leader dedicated to influencing our industry positively under the banner of Pursuing Greatness for Good. His commitment to aligning industry interests under this banner has positioned him as a unifying force, emphasising collaboration over division. Known for fairness, straightforwardness, & prioritising people over corporate interests, Bayanda advocates for a sustainable industry by minimising international brand imports.

With a focus on speed, communication, and impactful action, his leadership promises progress, unity, and sustainability for the SALBA committee and the industry at large. We ask him to elaborate on the role and what it means.

ES: What is SALBA?
The South African Liquor Brand Owners Association is a Spirits-focused non-profit organisation whose mandate is representing its members on matters of common interest. These include the Liquor Product Act (LPA), spirits excise duty and combatting illicit trading.

ES: What has our involvement been to date?
Edward Snell has been instrumental in delivering positive changes to the LPA, working with other industry members within SALBA to lobby the government in making changes that are future fit, that are aligned to the shifting consumer needs, and those that allow for innovations in the spirits category. Finally, we hope to continue to further encourage responsible drinking while reducing the total alcohol available in trade, in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.

In partnership with other industry leaders, Edward Snell was able to lobby for reducing alcohol in tequila from 43% to 35%. Our purpose is “The pursuit of greatness for good”, where we want to impact society while achieving greatness positively. The reduction of alcohol to 35% strongly supports this as it ensures lower alcohol on the shelf, leading to more responsible drinking in a country known for alcohol abuse.

At the same time, this move supports two of our strategic buckets, i.e. championing our consumers and saving to invest. This move means we can save costs due to the reduced alcohol, allowing us to reinvest the savings into brand building. This change also ensures that we stay in touch with the emerging consumer trends of responsible drinking and low-alcohol drinks

ES: Who are the other participants on the board:
Heineken beverages, formerly Distell
Pernod Ricard
Oude Molen
KWV, amongst others.

ES: What does your role as Chair entail?
As you can imagine, different members of SALBA have different objectives, often leading to different opinions. The chairperson’s role is to preside over the SALBA’s executive committee to ensure effective governance and ensure that everyone is united. They facilitate executive meetings, encourage robust discussions, and ensure that decisions align on issues of common interest. The chair may represent SALBA in negotiations with the government and other industry associations to foster collaboration and drive growth opportunities.

ES: As a spirits company & corporate citizen, how do we fulfill our responsibility to Pursue Greatness for Good and leave our industry better than we found it?
We must produce, market and sell our brands responsibly. We have an obligation to promote responsible consumption of alcohol and reduce its harmful use. Our intentions should always have the nation’s best interest before profits. We should always use our power to influence positively by establishing or joining initiatives that build a better South Africa.

Key Industry Compliance Measures

Liquor Product Act: SALBA’s responsibility is to ensure that the industry is united and speaks with one voice, which ensures that we can align with the government on changes made to the LPA. A fragmented industry cannot invent its future but instead falls victim to other’s thoughts of what should be.

Excise Duty: SALBA lobbies the government to ensure that amendments to legislation, excise tax and other requirements are done responsibly while considering their impact on society and the industry.

Illicit trading: Counterfeiting and illegal trading of spirits is on the rise, affecting not only the industry but the well-being of society. SALBA brings multiple stakeholders together to ensure a concerted effort is applied to fight criminal syndicates.