Liquor Policy Review proposes to raise minimum drinking age to 21 years

The National Liquor Policy has been released for comment. The document outlines policy proposals intended to introduce amendments to the National Liquor Act of 2003.

Some of the recommendations include: Amending section 9 of The Act to allow for restriction of alcohol advertising; Setting up a government-managed fund to fight alcohol abuse; Introducing liability for manufacturers and suppliers to prevent alcohol supply to unlicensed traders; Regulating trading hours

  • Increase the minimum legal age for drinking alcohol from 18 to 21 years Promoting education and awareness campaigns Harmonising provincial liquor laws with The Act Ensuring that three spheres of government work together to enforce regulations Enforcing regulations on illegal manufacturing of liquor

To get more insight we spoke to Professor Charles Parry, Director at Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit.

There is some data that suggests, specifically from the US, that raising the minimum drinking age to 21 could work. I mean the US was able to do that and get it passed by linking it to the federal money for high development. I can give you quite a bit of research showing that by increasing it to 21 in that country they decreased by almost 19 percent fatal traffic crashes involving young drivers.

Charles Parry

Prof Barry also spoke about the fund the policy is proposing to finance initiatives to combat alcohol abuse. The fund will be managed by a body that is not involved in the industry. He says this will be a way to keep those selling alcohol knowingly to people who are already intoxicated liable.

According to Prof Barry the decrease in the hours of trade does make a significant difference in saving lives. He thinks that the city of Cape Town is making a huge mistake by succumbing to the pressures of the industry with opening the hours to 4.00am. He says that the cutoff time should be 2.00am.

The National Liquor Policy was published in Government Gazette 38808 on 20 May 2015. Those interested may submit written comments on the proposed National Liquor Policy within 30 calendar days from the date of publication

To hear more about the liquor policy, listen below:


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