Govt pushing ahead with tighter alcohol laws

The Department of Trade and Industry is pushing ahead with its plans to raise the legal drinking age in South Africa from 18 to 21 years.

The announcement was first made in May 2015, with the proposed regulations intending to curb alcohol abuse in the country.

On 29 July the department will hold a seminar to meet with “representatives of the liquor industry‚ survivors of liquor abuse and alcoholics‚ academics‚ researchers‚ non-profit organisations‚ and people working in the health and social development environment” to discuss ways to curb liquor abuse, according to Times Live.

The department has also proposed restrictions on liquor advertising and prohibiting sponsorship, according to the report.

The proposals include:

  • Raising the legal limit to buy and consume alcohol from 18 to 21 years of age.
  • Preventing liquor sales from any outlet which is within 500 metres of a school, place of worship, recreation facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas and public institutions.
  • The proposals also suggest that no liquor licenses will be issued to petrol service stations, premises attached to petrol service stations or premises near public transport.
  • Existing liquor licence holders who operate one of these outlets can expect to lose that licence within the next 2 years.
  • Standardisation of opening hours throughout the country to control access to liquor.
  • A call to restrict the advertising of alcoholic beverages, prohibiting sponsorship and promotion associated with alcoholic beverages. These restrictions would be determined by the Minister of Trade and Industry.
  • Proposal to make manufacturers and distributors of alcohol responsible and liable for damages and harm caused if a person drinks to excess and is then involved in a car accident or a crime.
  • Proposal that a government-managed fund responsible for combating alcohol abuse be established.
  • Proposal for transformation in the “predominantly white-owned” industry, specifically in terms of BEE and the adoption of the amended BBBEE Codes of Good Practice.

The full proposals can be read here.

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Govt pushing ahead with tighter alcohol laws