About-turn on liquor legislation possibleMarch 10th, 2011 by H&R | Categories: Uncategorized
After years of indecision and tinkering, the government appears to be considering doing an embarrassing about-turn on liquor legislation.
Media reports say the government is looking at tougher laws, including raising the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 years. And it appears that it is beginning to accept that making liquor legislation and its enforcement a provincial and local authority issue has been almost a complete failure.
Observers say it appears possible that the government will turn to the 1989 Liquor Act for inspiration.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has this week highlighted a World Health Organisation report that showed South Africa is one of the countries in which alcohol abuse is a major problem.
She said speedy and concerted attention was required.
It is understood that some of the policy changes being considered relate to the establishment of a national policy on times during which alcoholic beverages may be sold, a review of liquor licence fees and monitoring of compliance with legislation and the raising to 21 of the age before which alcoholic beverages may not be consumed.
Observers point that in spite of the chaos that has surrounded liquor legislation in South Africa in recent years, most of the the problem lies with enforcement of existing laws.
The cost of legislation that may reduce the amount of tax and duties the State earns from the alcoholic beverage industries and also leads to job losses will have to be taken into account so it is unlikely that much is going to happen in the near future.