- Africa Liquor Industry Calls For Self-Regulation
The Spirits Business
By Kristiane Sherry
August 17, 2015
South Africa’s liquor producers have offered to self-regulate their marketing in response to proposed government legislation to increase the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21.
Spirits producers in South Africa have offered to self-regulate their marketing
The World Health Organisation’s 2014 Global Liquor Outlook report ranks South African’s patterns of alcohol consumption as “risky” with drinkers imbibing 27.1 litres of pure alcohol per year, compared to a WHO Africa Region average of 6.0 litres.
The South African drinks industry is estimated to be worth around US$26 billion a year.
“We need to find a balance,” Kurt Moore, chairman of the liquor industry task team, told Reuters.
“We can’t destroy an industry that brings money into the fiscus [national budget], but we also can’t turn a blind eye to problems associated with abuse,”
He added that drinks suppliers are looking to find ways to restrict certain types of marketing but had yet to agree how this could be done.
Once a self-regulatory code has been established, the industry says it plans to fine members who fail to comply, with repeat offenders potentially losing their licenses.
Public health officials say the country’s alcohol regulation has not kept pace with the level of investment by liquor companies.
Proposed legislation from the government includes raising the drinking age, banning liquor outlets within 500 metres of schools and places of worship, and holding alcohol firms liable for damages if a drunk person commits a crime or is involved in an incident.
Once drafted into a bill, the proposals would need to be approved by the country’s cabinet before coming into effect.
The South African government first mooted plans to raise the national legal drinking age in May 2015.