New legal drinking age proposal



October 5, 2016
New legal drinking age proposal

Legal drinking age may increase to 21, among other proposals. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar/Daily Voice

Government's looking to impose stricter dop laws.

If government has its way, you will have to wait for your 21st birthday party to enjoy your first dop.

Both the national and provincial government are looking to enforce stricter liquor laws due to the high cost associated with alcohol-related health care, crime and social ills.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, told a media briefing in Parliament on Monday that members of the public had until the end of October to comment on the National Liquor Amendment Bill.

South Africa had the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world at 10-12 percent, compared with the global average of six percent.

“We are also the highest with regards to the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the world, and 41 percent of the injuries are from incidences related to alcohol consumption,” said Davies.

Teetotallers should care too. Davies added that the state spent about R3.7 billion every year on problems stemming from alcohol abuse.

In the Western Cape, where a third of all high school learners binge drink, the highest in SA, authorities are looking to increase the price of alcohol.

Among others, the national Liquor Amendment Act proposes:

  • A ban of liquor outlets at petrol stations and at taxi and bus terminuses
  • To increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years old
  • That liquor retailers be held liable for people who commit offences in unlicensed pubs and shebeens and outside the drinking holes when drunk
  • That no liquor ads or billboards be erected within 100 metres of street corners, traffic circles or junctions.
  • That no alcohol be produced or sold within 500 metres of schools, places of worship, rehab centres or public institutions.
  • The Western Cape Alcohol Harms Reduction Policy Green Paper is also available for public comment, until November 20.
  • Spokesman for Premier Helen Zille, Michael Mpofu, says stricter laws are needed.

“35.2% of Western Cape learners in grades 8-11 binge drink, more than any other province,” he says.

“The draft policy explores different possible interventions, including price increases as a means to impact on binge and youth drinking, especially on payday weekends.”

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