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Ban on alcohol ads under discussion

Mar 08 2012 14:54 Sapa

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Johannesburg - There are no definite plans to ban alcohol adverts but all options to curb alcohol abuse are being considered, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe said on Thursday.

"Everything is still under discussion... these are possible actions," she told a liquor regulation conference in Midrand.

Thabethe said alcohol abuse in South Africa had reached a crisis, particularly among the youth.

For this reason alcohol advertising that glorified liquor consumption, particularly to young people, was not acceptable.

"It is not right to promote liquor as we are doing in South Africa. We'll continue to look at that if advertising companies don't comply or work with us."

Thabethe said advertising companies and liquor outlets needed to "come to the party".

"You must be responsible if you want to continue selling alcohol... we are saying work together with us."

If this did not happen, then as a "last, last resort", the banning of alcohol advertising could be considered.

"We expect the industry to come on board and say this is what we can do (to self regulate)," Thabethe said.

The conference would also look at the problem of concurrent jurisdiction between national government and provinces. At the moment, provinces were referring to the 1989 act, while nationally, the Liquor Act 59 of 2003 applied.

The conference was part of a consultative process to discuss issues that emerged from a summit held last year on the liquor industry.

From this, documents would be drawn up to put before the public for consultation. After this, new legislation to regulate the liquor industry would be drawn up.

The issues to be discussed include liquor outlet trading hours, the density of liquor outlets and proximity to schools, churches and main thoroughfares, and raising the legal drinking age.

A few hundred delegates were in attendance representing the liquor industry, liquor manufacturers and distributors, provincial liquor boards, civil society organisations, non-government organisations, community-based organisations and traditional leaders.
elizabeth thabethe  |  alcohol abuse
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