Government speaks on extending alcohol drinking age in South Africa


Cabinet considers extending alcohol drinking age in South Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen South Africa imposing an alcohol ban during the lockdown. Following the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccines, President Cyril Ramaphosa lifts the ban although he is exercising caution. In a bid to curb the effects of alcohol abuse, the cabinet is revising the Liquor amendment Bill.

One of the measures meant to achieve this is altering the legal age for drinking alcohol in the country. Following the announcement, it seems most are in line with the idea to extend the legal drinking age to 21 years.

The Bill amendment is also implementing measures which include:

Selling alcohol outside a 500m radius from educational and religious institutions.

Advertising billboards placement to be at least 100m away from street corners, junctions and traffic circles.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had this to say, “All of these I consider to be useful medium- to long-term tools to reduce SA’s high rate of alcohol consumption to be considered by the legislature in due course.”

If these measures achieve the desired goal, they will definitely be made permanent. “The human brain continues to develop up to age 22. It makes sense to delay drinking as long as possible. A lot of children hit university at 18 and are exposed to alcohol and it has quite a damaging effect on them and their progress through university,” Smithers comments.

The country has seen a lot of teenagers engaging in under age boozing. “The majority of them drink heavily and in a way that is harmful to themselves and others. The alcohol industry depends on this binge-drinking to make substantial profits, hence their resistance to the current ban and to alcohol regulation in general,” Saap group speaks.

Due to alcohol abuse in the country which sees crime levels and accidents spiking, the government is trading cautiously while avoiding loss of revenue. Speaking on the issue, Ramaphosa had this to say:

“The legislative part is something we need to look at very closely to see how do we begin to reduce the abuse of alcohol”

“It could revolve around things like age limit. We need to raise the age limit. Or do we need to look at trading hours for the purchase of alcohol? Do we need to look at things like taxation?”

The general public also weighs into the matter.

It doesn’t matter honestly, there are people way over 21 who act like they are 5 years old after drinking alcohol.

Alcohol companies should also be required to set up free rehab centre’s to curb the damage they are causing society.

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