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UNCESCR hears SAAPA submission on right to access to information and participation

Today the UN Commission on Economic, Social and Cultural rights will examine submissions by South African civil society organisations including one made by SAAPA on the right to access to information and the right to participate and be consulted on issues that affect South Africans.

SAAPA has, without success, made numerous requests to government for the release of the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill of 2013. In its 2017 report to the UNCESCR, the South African government refers to the draft Bill as one of its ‘achievements’. But is it an ‘achievement’ if there has been no progress with it since 2013 when it was approved by Cabinet for public comment, but not released to the public for comment as it should have been? We therefore renew our call for it to be shared urgently with the South African public so that it can move from a draft Bill to a promulgated Act!

WHO recommends regulation of marketing and promotion of alcohol as one of the interventions to reduce the negative impact of alcohol on individuals and society. Local and international research has shown that advertising influence the early initiation of alcohol consumption and the amount of alcohol consumed by young people.

In South Africa, 25% of young people under 19 years-old drink alcohol with 12% of under-13 year-olds having consumed alcohol in the last month.

These are the statistics that should guide government action on the regulation of alcohol marketing, where alcohol is sold, how much it costs, as well as the size of containers it is sold in. We need government action to prevent the alcohol industry from continuing to shape our social culture through marketing such as their latest Black Label advertisement “What does it mean to be a man?”. The advert reinforces and promotes the idea that men drink without showing any of the harmful consequences of such consumption – the impact of which is borne by families, communities and our economic and health systems.

We call on the government to release the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill for public comment, so that South Africans can have a say in how alcohol is marketed!

Link to submission.

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