It seems that the convenience of being able to have food delivered straight to your door with just a few clicks of a button might be proving particularly satisfying for a certain demographic – underage drinkers.
Parents have noted with concern the ease at which teenagers are able to order booze with a simple swipe of a smartphone.
So have food delivery apps like Uber Eats and MrD become a gateway for underage drinking?
Uber Eats claims that its policy requires delivery drivers to check a customer's ID before handing over alcohol, but listeners to Cape Talk tell a different story.
John Maytham spoke to Phillip Prinsloo from the Western Cape Liquor Authority.
He says part of the problem is that a distinction is made between those who sell liquor and those who deliver it.
In order to sell liquor you need to have a liquor licence, but often the licensed premises will make use of a delivery service.— Phillip Prinsloo, Deputy Director: Communication, Education & Stakeholder Relations - Western Cape Liquor Authority
Prinsloo says the authority takes very seriously the issue of alcohol sales to under 18s.
We've issued fines of up to R100,000 in the past two to three months and we've revoked licences.— Phillip Prinsloo, Deputy Director: Communication, Education & Stakeholder Relations - Western Cape Liquor Authority
From our side, we will hold the liquor licence holder responsible, but we also need to interrogate the business model (of Uber Eats).— Phillip Prinsloo, Deputy Director: Communication, Education & Stakeholder Relations - Western Cape Liquor Authority
Uber Eats provided Cape Talk with the following statement:
In accordance with South African law, there is strictly no under 18 policy for alcohol when ordering through the Uber Eats app. You would need to present your South African ID on delivery, if underage, alcohol will be returned to the shop/restaurant. By placing an order that includes alcohol, you confirm that you are at least 18 years old.
Delivery partners are prohibited by law from delivering alcohol to customers under the local legal drinking age, and both Delivery and Restaurant Partners reserve the right to refuse delivery of alcohol to any person who does not appear to be, or cannot prove that they are, aged 18 or over.
We strongly encourage users to be responsible when ordering alcohol. We also encourage over 18 users to keep their accounts secure and not allow under 18 individuals to order alcohol off their accounts.— Uber Eats spokesperson
Listen to the full interview below: