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'SA govt must be very cautious about making special deals with alcohol industry'

13 August 2020 4:57 PM
Tags:
Nedlac
Alcohol ban
Maurice Smithers
alcohol industry
liquor industry
SAAPA SA

A policy advisor says the government needs to tread carefully after reports that a new agreement has been reached with the alcohol industry at Nedlac.

According to reports, the liquor industry and other business partners have struck a deal with the Health Ministry as the government prepares to lift the alcohol ban.

It's reported that a social compact has been agreed to during a meeting at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Wednesday.

It's understood that liquor producers have promised to assist the public healthcare system if the alcohol ban in lifted.

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (SAAPA SA) has warned that the government must be cautious of such bargaining tactics.

SAAPA SA director Maurice Smithers says the liquor industry could later abuse their leverage when alcohol regulations are tightened in the future.

Smithers says SAAPA SA supports the resumption of alcohol sales with stricter controls in place.

The organisation was not part of the meeting at Nedlac but Smithers says he is privy to the social compact and proposals that have been agreed upon.

He's concerned that the proposals are too reliant on "self-regulation", which he believes is not enough for the liquor industry.

The problem is that the alcohol industry is known globally to use quid pro quo offers of this nature in order to benefit themselves in the long-term.

Maurice Smithers, Director - Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance

There's a risk. If it can be done in a way that's truly philanthropic, and not with the intention of promoting their own interests going forward, then it's a good thing to do.

Maurice Smithers, Director - Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance

I do think the government needs to be very cautious about how they approach it and Nedlac needs to also be very cautious about what they agree to.

Maurice Smithers, Director - Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:


13 August 2020 4:57 PM
Tags:
Nedlac
Alcohol ban
Maurice Smithers
alcohol industry
liquor industry
SAAPA SA

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