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Government already has ‘ready-made’ changes for alcohol sales in South Africa – what you should know

| Legislation

President Cyril Ramaphosa says that his government will look at the introduction of new regulations around the sale of alcohol in South Africa, but he may already have ready-made legislation waiting in the wings.

Ramaphosa told the Sunday Times that the temporary restrictions that were introduced under the adjusted level 3 lockdown have demonstrated the extent to which abuse of alcohol fuels violence, trauma and reckless behaviour.

“The legislative part is something that we need to look at very closely to see how do we begin to … reduce the abuse of alcohol,” he said.

“It could revolve around things like age limits; we need to deal with age limits, to raise the age limit. Or do we need to look at trading hours for the purchase of alcohol, do we need to look at things like taxation?”

However, the opposition Democratic Alliance has highlighted that the Liquor Amendment Bill was first mooted nearly five years ago and includes many of these proposed changes.

The DA said that Ramaphosa was the leader of government business when it was introduced in 2016 and has been the president for the last three years while it has not moved from his cabinet.

“If the president is serious about fast-tracking this bill, the DA is ready to do the work, make constructive proposals and come up with solutions that will balance both lives and livelihoods. The ball is in his court,” it said.

Changes

The Draft Liquor Amendment Bill proposes a number of  wide-reaching changes including:

  • Increasing the drinking age to 21 years;
  • The introduction of a 100-metre radius limitation of trade around educational and religious institutions;
  • Banning of any alcohol sales and advertising on social and small media;
  • The introduction of new liability clause for alcohol-sellers.

In addition, the Traffic Amendment Bill has already been approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa and was originally set to be introduced before the end of 2020.

Alongside a number of other traffic-related offences, it will create a zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving.

This means it introduces a total prohibition for the use and consumption of alcohol by all motor vehicle operators on South Africa’s public roads.

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