Strict alcohol laws on the way including new legal drinking age and higher taxes

Photo by Lex Guerra on Unsplash

President Cyril Ramaphosa hinted once again that the government has plans to impose stricter rules around the sale and consumption of alcohol in South Africa.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Ramaphosa said that the temporary alcohol restrictions have demonstrated how badly alcohol abuse fuels violence, trauma and reckless behaviour.

“The legislative part is something that we need to look at very closely to see how do we begin to reduce the abuse of alcohol,” he said.

“It could revolve around things like age limits; we need to deal with age limits, to raise the age limit. Or do we need to look at trading hours for the purchase of alcohol, do we need to look at things like taxation?”

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However, opposition party, The DA says all these regulations -and more- are already outlined in The Liquor Amendment Bill which was first drafted five years ago.

The DA said that if the president is serious about fast-tracking this bill, the DA is ready to do the work and come up with solutions that will balance both lives and livelihoods.

The DA has been pushing to fast track the Liquor Amendment Bill since last year. Some of the most noteworthy proposed changes to the law include:

  • 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

The push to further regulate alcohol sales and consumption comes shortly after Ramaphosa approved The Traffic Amendment Bill – which was meant to be introduced before the end of 2020.

The Traffic Amendment Bill creates a zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving – meaning the legal limit for drinking and driving will soon be zero. Not even one drink will be permitted for drivers on South Africa’s public roads.

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