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Drinking booze in Cape Town could get a lot harder – and more expensive

Drinking booze in Cape Town could get a lot harder – and more expensive

The Western Cape government (WCG) is proposing hard-line policies on alcohol use in the province – including higher prices, tighter trading hours, and a zero-tolerance approach to drinking among new drivers.

In a new green paper gazetted this week, the WCG is taking the lead on national government plans to curb alcohol abuse in the country. Nationally, government wants to kill alcohol advertising and sponsorship, while also raising the legal drinking age to 21.

According to the green paper, the tangible and intangible cost to the South African economy as a result of alcohol abuse is between R245 billion and R280 billion – while estimates put the economic contribution of the alcoholic beverages sector at R73 billion.

“The estimates point to a net cost to the economy of approximately 7-10% of GDP, or R165-236 billion,” the paper said.

The WCG said that the province was “habitually worse” than other provinces when it comes to alcohol-related harm statistics. This is across the tangible (crimes, accidents, healthcare) and intangible (welfare, absenteeism, premature mortality) categories.

To increase its battle against alcohol abuse, the Western Cape government put forward the following proposals (among many others):

  • Limiting trading hours and reducing the density of alcohol outlets.
  • Increasing the price of alcohol nationally through tax or setting minimum unit pricing.
  • Reducing the actual alcohol content in beverages, through national policy.
  • Increasing enforcement of under-age drinking regulations, particularly ID checks, which are often not done.
  • Better enforcement all-round, especially when it comes to unlicenced venues, and increasing use of breathalysers to catch drunk drivers.
  • A zero-tolerance approach to drinking and driving among new drivers – where no driver under the age of 21 or persons within 3 years of getting their first licence should be allowed to consume any alcohol at all.
  • The province also supports a national ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and marketing. Failing an outright ban, it proposes introducing a levy on such marketing to finance counter-advertising warning of the dangers of alcohol.

The full green paper is available for public comment. All comment must be handed to the Western Cape government by 30 November 2016.

More on alcohol in South Africa

Raising the legal drinking age โ€“ and other proposed liquor laws

South Africa alcohol consumption vs the world

Govt pushing ahead with tighter alcohol laws

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  • Mossel

    I understand the drinking and driving part, but everything else makes no sense. If I wish to destroy my liver on a weekend, why make it difficult for me to do it? There are already almost no bottle stores open on a Sunday where I live.

    • WookieJebus

      Your profile picture fits this comment perfectly…

      • Rick Grimes

        IKR – Rick & Morty is hilarious.

    • Rick Grimes

      Agreed… trading hours are already limited, so to me: someone who works 9 to 5 and who maybe buys a six-pack once or twice a month, it’s bloody annoying to find out the liquor store is closed whenever I want to go to an unplanned braai. Shafting the average Joe with bullsh!t like trading hours and cost, as if we are not suffering enough under his economy already – get real, polititians!

      • Max

        ” Any true alkie will manage his addiction by buying during the day” – Very true. I own a few liquor stores and I welcome any law saying that I’m not allowed to be open on Sundays. Doing so will reduce cost without a big effect on turnover (in my area anyway) Customers will be “trained” when to buy their drinks.

        • Rick Grimes

          Ha! There’s that, I guess.

    • Graham Downs

      As a smoker who doesn’t drink much, I feel your pain, really I do. This is just the beginning of what they did to us – and it’s getting worse, not better.

      I wish you the very best of luck, and I think smokers, drinkers, gamblers, or anyone who enjoys a vice should stick together in the face of world governments who seem intent on destroying citizens’ freedom.

      P.S. I also understand and support the driving thing, but nothing else.

      • straight8

        Smoking in the office, quick few beers at the pub for lunch – remember the eighties! Fast forward to the present, smoking in the car park, no drinking at all and a tax on sugar.

        • Graham Downs

          Hey, I was smoking in the office as late as 2006/2007….

          And by the way, you can’t smoke in the car park if it’s got a roof over it. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Max

    “A zero-tolerance approach to drinking and driving among new drivers โ€“ where no driver under the age of 21 or persons within 3 years of getting their first licence should be allowed to consume any alcohol at all.”

    I totally agree. Currently the day you turn 18 you can get your drivers licence and drive to the closest pub to celebrate.

    • Razmataz

      Hahahaha well when you put it that way

    • AgentMulders

      There’s a legal and scientific reason you can not and should not be allowed to use a zero tolerance law. Alcohol is naturally occurring in the blood after eating certain foods, and it’s in things as mundane as cough syrup and mouthwash. Only a moron would implement a zero tolerance policy that would send thousands of innocent people to jail

      • Gerrit Kellerman

        That’s why you get tested twice within 30 minutes.
        If you take cough syrup, you might be over the limit if tested shortly thereafter. But your reading 30 minutes later will be back to normal.
        However if you are “drunk” your alcohol level will stay almost the same or just come down a little.
        We had to do the whole exercise at work with someone that was drinking on the job and claimed he drank cough syrup.

        • AgentMulders

          “A zero-tolerance approach to drinking and driving among new drivers โ€“ where no driver under the age of 21 or persons within 3 years of getting their first licence should be allowed to consume any alcohol at all”

          That’s zero alcohol.

          • Rick Grimes

            No…. no it’s not. You are nitpicking over the “consume any alcohol” part. They don’t mean food/medicine; people in this country don’t always English that good [sic], so try to interpret their meaning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • AgentMulders

            These are politicians, and you forget that they’ve been trying to get a 0.0 alcohol limit passed for a number of years already. It’s not nitpicking at all

          • Rick Grimes

            Don’t worry, it’s just not going to happen. Like you said, it’s physiologically impossible, so good luck to them getting such a law passed! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Gerrit Kellerman

            I saw that part, but you obviously didn’t understand my explanation on the difference between drinking couch syrup and alcohol.

            You have to drink an entire bottle of couch syrup in one go for the alcohol to have any effect

          • AgentMulders

            Drinking enough to have an impairment effect and drinking enough to have it detected are also two different things.

          • Gerrit Kellerman

            If you drink cough syrup as prescribed you will never be impaired and never be locked up for driving under the influence.

      • Rick Grimes

        Zero tolerance to drunk driving. Not zero percent blood-alcohol level! Derp

      • SteveD

        Good grief, use your brain here, dude.

        “Alcohol is naturally occurring in the blood after eating certain foods, and it’s in things as mundane as cough syrup and mouthwash.” You’re certainly correct but none of those substances impair your ability to drive a vehicle or make quick judgrments while you’re behind the wheel. Beer and wine, however, do.

        • AgentMulders

          True, but zero alcohol is zero alcohol, no matter how it got into your bloodstream. Our current legal limit is based on scientific evidence of impairment and doesn’t need tampering.

    • Khalsa Singh

      I disagree…………. the state has no business dictating to us.
      They can police the streets and set up road blocks to test for drunken drivers……they cant make their lives easier at the expense of our liberties

  • Lizzard

    While I support many of these attempts, I must second guess the pricing issue. People who spend money on booze will spend it, no matter how expensive. Same with Smokes and Drugs, those who dont care, dont care, and will make a plan.

    • Gutterboy

      yes and their families will just suffer more

      • Lizzard

        This is where I feel the laws are wrong and that somehow (I have no answer though) the actually alcoholic needs to be prosecuted and no the family.

    • Max

      The trend that I have noticed in my stores is that after a price increase my customers swap their drink of choice to a cheaper brand.

      I have also noticed the increase in dodgy “fly-by-night” suppliers trying to sell fake/stolen/illegal stock

      • Lizzard

        Oh Fully dude, this is totally a thing. You see it in students especially they juts drink cheaper stuff as the prices go up. For those where it is a problem there is not preferred brand simply quantity over quality.

      • Graham Downs

        We created the illegal cigarette problem; we’ll create the illegal alcohol problem, too. ๐Ÿ™

        • Rick Grimes

          1920’s all over again.

  • TellMe

    Alcohol abuse is not the problem, it’s the result of a deeper issue that needs to be tackled
    All this will do is make the people it’s aimed at buy less food.

    Anyway, going after the soft law abiding citizens again… Why not set you sites on tik, mandrax or heroin abuse etc..? Cowards.

  • Trollsmite

    No man..you can’t go and increase our booze…we are already paying a buckload for this. Brandy has already lost it’s kick in recent purchases.

  • CharlieTango

    Why nothing in the proposal about stopping the “dop system” at the wine estates? It still continues despite its “official” prohibition. Nailing farmers that continue with the system would go a long way to curbing alcohol abuse and associated social ills. And you don’t even have to raise the prices of alcohol………

    • Rick Grimes

      Oh please! Show me a RECENT article where this system has been uncovered. It has been banned for decades, and we have labour inspectors who check up on farms. No reputable wine producer would risk his business with an archaic practice like this. You are living in the past, just like the ANC who keep beating the long-dead apartheid horse.

      • CharlieTango

        No beating a deaf horse here (pun intended). It’s a system that led to much of the alchol related social problems experienced in the WC today. Banning alcohol or increasing the price is not going to solve the issue. As for likening me to the ANC, GFYH.

        • Rick Grimes

          You said the dop system – not alcoholism – still continues. Back up your assertions with some proof or at least a news article. Until then, I don’t see how you are any different from our lying government.

          • CharlieTango

            Ramifications of South Africa’s Dop System by Alexandra Larkin. June 2015

          • Rick Grimes

            She got her stats from an old article by Prof Leslie London. A more recent article by London states, “…it is now illegal and practised only in the most obscure parts of the countryโ€™s agricultural hinterland” – September 9, 2015.

            So I stand by what I said. It’s not a thing anymore. Sure, its legacy remains, but you cannot say “it still continues despite…” if a few criminal elements do it, and then allude that farmers don’t get nailed for it. Your implication is that authorities look the other way, which is utter BS.

            Why nothing in the proposal? Because it is and has been illegal for a long, long time; there is nothing to propose about it, because the law is already clear on the matter.

          • CharlieTango

            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their own level and beat you with experience”- George Carlin.

          • Rick Grimes

            “Nailing farmers that continue with the system would go a long way to curbing alcohol abuse and associated social ills” – Okay then, genius; I’ll take his advice. Peace out.

  • MP3

    u shld see the number of people who actually drink whilst driving in jhb… nevermind climbing into the car after pub visit… i even see them driving to the liquor store for replenishment stock…

  • AwesomeGunners123

    This to me is just another way to make money. This is by no means to help me from drinking responsibly.

    For example: Bottles stores where suppose to close earlier. Which was at 5pm. Well guess what…buy a more expensive license which certain retailers can afford and you stay open till 8pm. If that’s not enough pay a little more and you can trade on a Sunday. So for me this new law just benefited the rich retailers and killed the small players as usual.

    Another example: Everyone talks about the high volume of drinking and driving. Well South Africans have been crying out for proper transport for years. If its costing the government and municipalities this much in deaths then why not subsidize companies to offer cheaper rides like Uber. This happened a few months ago at a cricket game whereby if you went to Newlands and watched the game your Uber ride home was heavily subsidized.

    It might not work the first time as peoples arguments will be is that people will still drink and drive. Well why not change peoples way of thinking. I know lots of people that use to drink and drive in the past but since Uber they drink and Uber home. All because one friend mentioned it and changed their mindset.

    But this wont happen as what happens when you get caught drinking and driving. They first lock you up and then you pay a fine. Finish and Klaar. So once again its all about the money.

    I have also us take me home service through my bank. Brilliant service. I drive sober to a place, I drink and have fun and my bank collects me and takes me home with my own car. No fuss at all. It is so easy it has become a way of thinking. If I drink I need to either Uber or phone my bank.

    So too me this is all about money.

  • Andre van der Merwe

    lock them up without alternative of a fine…… any fine for whatever is just a money making opportunity….

  • John Doe

    Prohibition or limiting access like this does not solve the problem, as was shown in the 20s. You need to solve the underlying social issues first.

    I do agree, though, on the zero tolerance for drunken driving.

  • Mikhael Rowe

    “Reducing the actual alcohol content in beverages, through national policy.”
    I don’t see this helping – I’ll just buy two bottles instead of one then.

  • Mark

    This is why I don’t vote DA. I’m a (semi) responsible adult and I don’t appreciate being told when, where or how I can purchase my liquor with my hard earned cash. We’re not children in need of a nanny state ffs. I thought maybe, just maybe we were heading in the right direction when they lifted the prohibition on selling alcohol on Sundays and after 6 during the week in Cape Town, but obviously not.

  • AgentMulders

    Some good ideas some utterly stupid. Hopefully logic prevails

  • GR

    We all know how well prohibition worked in the US. We already can’t enforce current laws, so how do we propose to enforce even more laws? As with everything else, the first port of call should be education. Educate people (very graphically if necessary) about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Banning things or making them inaccessible simply creates a thriving black market – it does nothing to stem the demand but raises the price because of making it more difficult to supply.

  • the-TRUTH

    Ayeye to the booze drinkers…

  • ToothyGrinn

    Good luck with that!

  • Khalsa Singh

    And the left wing litard Dimocrats in the DA show their true colours……. welcome nanny state.
    Next they will want to take away our guns……for our own safety ofcourse.

  • Idi_Amen

    Don’t these politicians ever learn anything from history. As in the American prohibition they’re simply going to drive the alcohol business underground and shebeens and smugglers will prosper while nobody is going to drink any less. Waste of time and money. Rather focus more on alcohol education and enforce the abundance of laws we already have. What’s the use of more laws if you cant police and enforce them?

  • Betterestdayz

    Wish we could get rid of the tops down the road and replace it with a hemp store…

  • nickn4m3

    I know an alcoholic. You can put him anywhere in the country and he will produce alcohol. He knows the trading hours and location of what seems like every single bottle store in the country. He does not care what alcohol costs as it is something that he needs rather than wants. He plans his life around acquiring booze.

    How does something like this help him?

    I, on the other hand, probably only visit bottle store about 4-6 times a year. Granted, I may buy up to a couple of thousand rand’s worth of booze in a single visit, but it tends to last for a good couple of months. Nobody I know has ever been concerned that I may have a drinking problem.

    This will annoy me, as I do not plan my life around acquiring booze.

  • Josh Strauss

    When do public comments open? Besides the drinking and driving proposal, the rest are just idiotic.

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