ROBUST DBATE NEEDED OVER SOUTH AFRICA’S PROPOSED LIQUOR AMENDMENT BILL

South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has again highlighted the need for a robust public engagement on issues raised in the proposed Liquor Amendment Bill.

South Africa currently has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world at 12 per cent as compared with the world average of 6 per cent.

In a statement released in October when he announced the draft Bill, Davis had said that South Africa also had the highest level of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the world and that 41 per cent of injuries reported in the country are from incidents related to alcohol consumption.

Davies said the government was spending 3.7 billion Rand (about 264 million US dollars) a year on problems related to alcohol abuse.

The Minister was speaking at the liquor Indaba (gathering) underway in Ekurhuleni, near here, a consultative meeting with stakeholders from the liquor industry.

Davies said the proposals raised in the draft Bill were also as a result of the benchmarking done in other countries were it was proven that raising the alcohol consumption age assisted in reducing negative incidences related to alcohol consumption.

The draft Bill, among other things, seeks to raise the legal minimum age of drinking from 18 to 21 years and to prohibit liquor advertising which targets youth in a bid to curb alcohol abuse.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK