Skip to main content

Higher drinking age and other liquor proposals are open for public comment

| Wine and liquor

The government is proposing to raise the legal minimum age of drinking from 18 years to 21 years, and to prohibit liquor advertising that targets youth, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said.

The minister launched a draft liquor policy paper, a draft Liquor Amendment Bill and draft amendments to the Gambling Act for public comment over the next 45 days.

The Cabinet adopted the proposals two weeks ago.

Davies stressed that the proposals were open for public debate.

Also proposed is a civil liability on the manufacturers and suppliers of liquor when alcohol is involved in incidents which cause damage involving costs.

The onus will shift to them to prove that they took reasonable steps to ensure that their liquor was not supplied to an unlicensed outlet when the liquor sold from the outlet leads to the damage, whether it be a motor vehicle accident, assault etc.

The onus will also shift to a supplier of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated drinker who commits an offence to show why the supplier should not bear the costs of the offence.

Davies said that at the moment the state bore the costs of offences in terms of hospital and medical expenses. The total cost to the state of alcohol-related events is estimated at R37.9bn a year.

He stressed that it could not be business as usual regarding the regulation of liquor, the consumption of which had become a serious problem in SA, which outstrips world averages in several key indicators. The average consumption per person in SA per year is 10 to 12.4 litres, compared with the world average of 6.2 litres. The incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome in the country is also much higher.

The situation had not improved and "drastic measures" were required to combat alcohol abuse, Davies said.

Regarding youth, he said there was evidence to show that the brain only became fully developed in the mid-20s and that alcohol had a more damaging effect on a brain that was not fully developed than on a fully developed one.

Liquor retailers would be required to request proof of age from young people. Advertising targeting the youth will be prohibited.

Pin It

Related Articles

Makro secures exclusive rights to SA’s most sou...

This week, Makro has launched its Festive liquor catalogue for 2023 - which its buyers explain is carefully crafted around local and international consumer trends. This year, the retailer managed to secure exclusive products from brands such as De...

Checkers adds 41 new wines to Odd Bins range

Checkers has added 41 new limited edition wines to its Odd Bins collection, of which two were awarded Double Gold and Gold at the prestigious Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards earlier this month. 

With petrol at almost R20 a litre, food prices ...

South African consumers will have to dig deeper in their pockets at the tills this festive season, with food prices set to rise on the back of rising petrol prices, feed, and input costs.

Petrol price shocker for South Africa

Filling a 45-litre tank will cost South African motorists around R55 more from tomorrow (3 November 2021).

Consumers to face higher prices this festive se...

CRM global leader Salesforce predicted that consumers would face higher prices this coming Festive Season.