If Parliament passes the bill, alcohol advertising on radio and
television will be banned from 6 am to 10 pm and the age limit for drinking
will be raised from 18 to 21 years.


Department of Trade and Industry director-general Lionel October confirmed on
Friday that the bill had entered the cabinet process, but said it would take
two-three weeks to finalise because the Department of Health was pushing for a
total ban on all alcohol advertising.

After finalisation by the cabinet sub-committee, the bill will be submitted to
the full Cabinet for approval.

Alcohol-related health and crime incidents are understood to cost the government
billions of rand every year with health costs alone estimated at 5% of total
public-health spending.

According to a report on a study for the National Economic Development and
Labour Council (Nedlac) by research consultants Genesis Analytics, restricting
alcohol advertising from 10 pm and 6 am would result in a loss of revenue
amounting to R400m for advertising agencies and R800m for the media,
particularly television.

In the report, the researchers proposed a more targeted restriction on alcohol
advertising on programmes and channels with an adult audience.

They did, however, find strong evidence that young people exposed to alcohol
advertising were more likely to start drinking earlier, drink more and binge
drink.

There was evidence that exposure to alcohol advertising resulted in increased
drinking by young people who were already heavy drinkers.

The researchers estimated that the combination of a raising of the legal
drinking age and a restriction on alcohol advertising would reduce alcohol consumption
3.2%-7.4% among those aged 15 years and older.

Industry sources said the revised bill submitted to the cabinet sub-committee
was largely unchanged from the draft published for public comment.

They said they believed few changes were made to the bill to take account of
the findings of the Genesis study presented to Nedlac in November last year.

Still in the revised bill is the age limit and the ban on alcohol advertising
from 6 am to 10 pm, although it is understood that the final version omits the
prohibition on the location of liquor outlets within a certain distance from
churches, schools etc.

But the provision to limit the number of licenses for the retailing of liquor
is understood to have been retained.

If passed, the legislation will hold liquor makers legally liable for branded
products found in unlicensed outlets and for damages caused by any individual
consumer while under the influence of liquor.

SA Liquor Brand-owners Association chairman Sibani Mngadi said the association
was not aware of any changes in the provisions of the bill as a result of
the “credible, scientific study” commissioned by
Nedlac. “Continuing with the bill in its current form runs
contrary to the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to all sectors to ignite the
economy and create jobs,”
Mngadi said. “The Nedlac study
recommends better ways of dealing with alcohol abuse in society without wiping
out 1500 jobs.”

 

Source: Fastmoving