Johannesburg - The government is drafting legislation to curb advertisements and marketing of alcohol, the health ministry said on Monday.
The ministry would not comment on the content of the legislation, but daily newspaper Business Day reported the measure would place a total ban on alcohol advertisements.
South Africa currently allows for liquor ads in print and on TV. The ministry sees alcohol as a contributing factor to highway deaths and a murder rate that is one of the highest in the world outside of a war zone.
“As is the case with all bills, the control of marketing of alcoholic beverages bBill will go through various stages of consultation... before it is released for public comment,” spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said in a statement.
Business Day reported on Monday that the draft bill, which prohibits the advertising and promotion of alcoholic products, was being reworked behind closed doors by a government task team.
According to the report the bill, which was prematurely leaked into the public domain, had caused alarm in industry circles because of its heavy-handed approach.
Hadebe said the department wanted to caution the industry against reacting to leaked documents.
“These may in some instances be out of touch with the consultation processes which the department remains committed to.”
He said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had expressed his concern about the impact of alcohol on the public’s health.
“The advertising and marketing of alcohol beverages is just one of the many avenues that are being considered as part of addressing this challenge,” said Hadebe.