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South African Policy on Alcohol

Although governed by the National Liquor Authority, each of South Africa’s nine provinces draft their own policies.

At the time Soul City and its partners launched the campaign, provincial liquor policies were out of date and needed updating to suit the current environment. Lobbying of National government included lobbying provinces separately to update policies and strengthen implementation of these.

Draft Liquor Policy 2012

Following extensive lobbying by Soul City and its partners , a bill for the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages was drafted in 2012.

The government consulted extensively with stakeholders including liquor traders, communities and the general public with public hearings held in provinces across the country. That same year the bill was leaked to the public resulting in a media frenzy spearheaded by the alcohol industry. Amid accusations of being a nanny state and exaggerated reports of job losses in the industry, the Department of Health convened a media briefing to address concerns around the bill. The bill was approved by the IMC in August 2013 and presented to cabinet in September where it awaits final approval. The Treasury department is currently looking at alternative ways to fund the arts and sport in South Africa.

Norms and Standards of the Liquor Act

In 2013, the South African National Liquor Authority, a body under the Department of Trade and Industry, presented a draft of Norms and Standards of the Liquor Act of 2003. These norms and standards address the issues within the current legislative framework such as standards necessary for the location of licensed premises, age verification, licensing conditions, structural requirements and norms relating to trading hours.

The drafting of these norms and standards raise policy issues that are to be debated such as:

Raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21; Prohibiting sale of liquor to visible pregnant women; Prohibiting the issuing of licenses to schools, Convenience stores next to Petrol / Filling stations; Extending liability to persons who sell liquor to visibly drunk persons

These policy issues form part of the Draft Liquor policy 2012 and will continue to be debated.

The purpose of the norms and standards are to:

  • To ensure that liquor legislation and practises in the South Africa are harmonised
  • To facilitate effective enforcement of liquor laws by various enforcement authorities
  • To ensure consistency in the application of liquor laws throughout the country and
  • To reduce the socio-economic and other costs of alcohol abuse by reducing access to and the availability of liquor

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