In a statement released on Tuesday (12 June), the committee explained
that the bill seeks to amend the current Liquor Products Act to broaden its
scope of regulation.
One of the key changes will be the regulation of beer, contemporary beer,
traditional African beer and other fermented beverages which had previously
been exposed to a loophole which allowed for any product labelled as ‘beer’ or
‘ale’ to be manufactured and sold in the country.
While the committee raised concerns about the practicality of regulating the
production of traditional African beer and other fermented beverages,
chairperson of the committee, Olifile Sefako, said the bill has good intentions
and should not be misconstrued in relation to suppressing traditional practices
or suffocating entrepreneurship.
The second major change being introduced by the bill is a reduction of the
amount of alcohol not classified as liquor products – meaning that the minimum
alcohol content in beverages will now be set to 0.5%, as opposed to the current
Other changes include new regulations and compulsory registration for bottlers,
plans to make it easier for new players to enter the market and obtain
licenses, and restrictions on drinks advertising that they contain ‘fresh
Following a long consultation period, parliament confirmed that the Liquor
Amendment Bill was finally heading towards Cabinet in March.
The bill proposes banning the supply of liquor and methylated spirits to persons
under the age of 21 – up from 18 currently. This includes any and all
alcoholic advertisements which are aimed at people under the age of 21.
It also calls for the prohibition of the manufacturing, distribution or retail
sale of liquor in both rural and urban communities, on any location that is
less than 500 metres away from schools, place of worship, recreational
facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas, public
institutions and other like amenities.
The final major change that the Bill plans to introduce is an extension of
liability for people selling alcohol in the country. This means that
manufacturers and suppliers of alcohol to illegal or unlicensed outlets will
effectively be liable for all damages caused by their unlawful distribution.