Stricter alcohol laws proposed for South Africa including a new legal drinking age

Alcohol Laws
Photo by Giovanna Gomes on Unsplash

The DA is calling on the South African government to introduce the Liquor Amendment Bill. The draft legislation – which aims to introduce a number of alcohol laws that could help reduce the damage caused by alcohol abuse in the country – has reportedly been sitting in cabinet for the last four years.

According to The DA’s Dean Macpherson, the bill might not be perfect but “it will allow MPs to work towards dealing with issues like access to liquor by minors and provinces being able to levy taxes on sales to fund cost recovery models.”

The push to fast-track the bill comes shortly after Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced that government will introduce new legislation around drinking and driving by December 2020.

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Mbalula confirmed that the Road Traffic Amendment Bill – which was introduced in parliament in June 2020 – will soon become law with the bill effectively introducing a 0% alcohol limit for all motorists.

The Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) is backing both bills with director Maurice Smithers telling TimesLive that the Liquor Amendment Bill should be fast-tracked alongside new regulations around drunk driving drafted in the Road Traffic Amendment Bill.

“Government themselves acknowledge that there is an issue with the way alcohol is consumed, and it is now critical. We are baffled as to why they don’t take the tools they already have and deal with this problem,” Smithers said.

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The Liquor Amendment Bill proposes a number of new alcohol laws, including:

  • Increasing the drinking age to 21 years
  • The introduction of a 100-metre radius limitation of trade around educational and religious institutions
  • Banning of any alcohol sales and advertising on social and small media
  • The introduction of new liability clause for alcohol-sellers

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