According to Diageo, the impact of an already strenuous year for many businesses, due to lockdown restrictions, has been worsened by riots and looting.

Diageo adds that it is committed to connecting with its partners and offering relief through this purpose-driven campaign. The initiative is geared towards rebuilding the industry so that South Africans can get back at work again.

Diageo highlights that it has been inspired by the many South Africans who have rolled up their sleeves to help clean up and rebuild. The brand says that it hopes this financial contribution and stock injection will help speed up the recovery of those businesses affected by the riots.

Zizwe Vundla, Diageo South Africa's marketing director, says, "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 week 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," adds Vundla.

"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," Vundla says. 

"Through this relief fund, we will be able to assist businesses with
  • repairing and replacing shop fitting
  • replenishing stock 
  • clean-up drives
  • cash injections to help business owners
  • marketing support
  • food parcels for employees that have lost their jobs, and
  • reprieve on payment terms," Vundla says.
This commitment is in addition to the support that Diageo South Africa provided to the industry in 2020 through partnerships with the Restaurant Association of South Africa. This saw more than 400 establishments in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban assisted with R200-million support to cushion them from the blow of 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," concludes Vundla. "Johnnie Walker has always been a powerful force, bringing people together for centuries; and now more than ever, we have to keep walking with them and help them rebuild their businesses."

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