A call has gone out to all concerned citizens, social drinkers, alcoholics, teetotallers, parents, taxpayers, road users, in fact, all South Africans, to put down their glasses for a minute and consider how they feel about alcohol use in the country.
Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies told a media briefing in parliament on Monday that members of the public had until the end of October to comment on the National Liquor Amendment Bill.
Davies urged robust public engagement on the topic, noting that South Africa had the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world, at 10-12%, compared with the world average of 6%.
“We are also the highest with regards to the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the world, and 41% of the injuries are from incidents related to alcohol consumption,” said Davies.
Teetotallers should care, too. Davies added the state spent about R3.7 billion a year on problems stemming from the abuse of alcohol.
Urging the public to engage with the proposals in the bill, Davies said they were the result of research done in other countries where interventions, such as raising the age at which it was legal to consume alcohol, had been shown to reduce alcohol-related problems in society.
The National National Liquor Amendment Bill can be accessed at http://www.thedti.gov.za/gazzettes/40319.pdf