State mulls tougher liquor laws

2011-03-10 13:21

Cape Town - The government is mulling tougher alcohol laws including raising the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 years, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Thursday.

Dlamini said at a press conference in parliament that local research shows alcohol is a factor in 29% of non-fatal injured drivers and more than 47% of fatally injured drivers.

She also pointed out a finding in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health that showed South Africa is one of the leading countries in alcohol abuse disorders.

"In the light of this reality, of course backed by statistical analysis of the situation on the ground, government has prioritised this as a matter of urgency which requires speedy and concerted attention from all in our society," Dlamini said.

Some of the policy changes government is considering are alcohol limitations on time, location and content (in relation to advertising); harmonisation of existing legislation on liquor; reviewing liquor licence fees; and strengthening inspections.

It is also exploring the possibility of raising the age of consumption and trade of alcohol from 18 to 21 years.

In October, the City of Cape Town attempted to shorten the hours during which liquor could be sold. However, after strong protests from the liquor industry this bylaw is currently being reviewed.